by Jerome Lagunzad
Games Tomorrow (The Arena, San Juan City)
4:15 p.m. — F2 Logistics vs Cignal
7 p.m. — Petron vs Cocolife
Imports Darlene Ramdin and Symone Hayden led the offensive charge anew while locals Ria Meneses, Angeli Araneta and April Ross Hingpit provided strong support to help the Lifesavers avert a monumental collapse against the stubborn Giga Hitters in two hours and 26 minutes of intense play.
More importantly, Generika-Ayala finally broke the ice in its fifth try while leaving newcomer Smart empty-handed following another painful loss—its fifth consecutive—in the import-spiced tournament.
Down for the count after dropping the first two sets, Smart showed signs of life in the third frame behind prized Cuban import Gyselle Silva before Serbian counterpart Sanja Trivunovic and grizzled Maureen Penetrante-Ouano came up with clutch hits.
As the Lifesavers appeared to be crumbling under immense pressure, the Giga Hitters continued their resurgence in the fourth set, with Trivunovic spearheading their attack anew before seeing Silva, despite dealing with an ailing right leg, deliver a strong kill to force a fifth and deciding frame.
Both teams refused to give an inch as they battled through six deadlocks until Hayden scored a kill then Meneses followed it up with a big denial of a Trivunonic attack for an 8-6 cushion at the mandatory change court.
Trivinovic pulled the Giga Hitters within one anew, but Meneses answered right back with another quick hit then Hayden made Smart pay for its over reception with a vicious kill, putting Generika-Ayala back in control with a 10-7 lead.
Smart kept itself in the thick of the fight by scoring four of the next six points, capped by a great placement shot by underrated LaRainne Fabay. But Generika-Ayala showed steely nerves as Araneta and Ramdin accounted for a pair of hits before forcing its rival to make an unlikely reception error to get the job done.