Generika-Ayala semis bid still alive

Games Thursday, March 23:

(FilOil Flying V Center)

5 pm – Generika-Ayala vs Petron

7 pm – Sta. Lucia vs Foton

The door of the semifinals remains slightly open for Generika-Ayala to enter as it destroyed Sta. Lucia, 25-21, 25-13, 25-16, in the Belo Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference on Saturday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.

After a sluggish start, the Lifesavers waxed hot in the second and third sets to blast the Lady Realtors and improve its chances in the next round of this prestigious women’s club tourney backed by Mikasa, Senoh, Asics and Mueller with TV5 as official broadcast partner.

The Lifesavers now fashion a 2-2 win-loss card and a victory over unbeaten Petron in the final playing day of the eliminations on Thursday will give them a fighting chance to make it to the next round.

Only the top three teams will advance to the semifinals where they will face a guest team from Japan in a single-round robin that will determine the victor in this ultimate battle that also has UCPB Gen as official insurance provider and Gold’s Gym as official fitness partner.

“Although it would take a miracle for us to get in (the semifinals), we’re very optimistic we can make it,” said Generika-Ayala coach Francis Vicente, who is also the head coach of the national women’s team in the 29th Southeast Asian Games and the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship.

“Maganda ang inilalaro ng mga bata. Alam ko na gagawin nila para makapasok sa semis.”

Angeli Araneta spearheaded the attack as she finished with 11 kills and a block for 14 points while skipper Gen Casugod and Mikaela Lopez delivered nine markers apiece for the Lifesavers, who obviously banked on their vast experience in putting away the young Lady Realtors.

Generika-Ayala started out slow as Sta. Lucia knotted the count at 19 and threatened to steal the first set away.

But a pair of unforced errors followed by an ace from Casugod doomed the chances of the Lady Realtors, allowing the Lifesavers to book an easy 25-21 victory in the opening set.

It was all Generika-Ayala from there as Araneta and Casugod conspired to post a 20-12 lead in the second set en route to a 25-13 set win.

“We had a slow start,” said Araneta, who was part of the Foton squad that ruled the PSL Grand Prix for two consecutive years.

“We just picked up the tempo in the second and third sets. Naging maganda ang compsure namin at nagtuloy-tuloy na.”

Ranya Musa, Janine Navarro and Rachel Austero tallied four markers apiece for Sta. Lucia, which remains at the bottom of the heap with a 0-4 mark.