Comebacking Giga Hitters blow by Lady Realtors in PSL All-Filipino opener

By Ricky Manliguis

MANILA— Smart-PLDT announced its return in the Philippine Superliga with style as it thwarted Sta. Lucia Realty, 25-20, 25-19, 25-23, in the opening match of the 2018 PSL All-Filipino Conference Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. 

Back after a three-year break, the Giga Hitters showed no signs of rust in dismantling a game but under-manned Lady Realtors while also marked the triumphant return of coach Roger Gorayeb in the season-ending tournament. 

Grethcel Soltones returned from as year-long ban to score 17 points for the Giga Hitters, while Jer Malabanan added eight and Czarina Carandang six. 

After a 19-all tie in the third set, the Giga Hitters fired a 5-0 blitz for a 24-19 edge. But the lady Realtors rallied to come within 24-23, before Soltones put away the game with an off-the-block hit. 

Smart-PLDT also got another solid game from libero Lizlee Pantone who registered 11 digs and seven receptions. Setter Jasmine nabor fired 15 excellent sets with three points. 

Sta. Lucia played without injured players MJ Phillips and Chin Basas. Pam Lastimosa led the squad with eight points, while Michelle Laborte and Jeanette Villareal both chipped in seven.

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