Valdez, Santiago lead PLDT to Shakey's V-League title
MANILA, Philippines - Led by the heroics of Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago, PLDT Home Ultera beat the Army Lady Troopers, 25-22, 18-25, 24-26, 28-26, 15-13, to win the Shakey's V-League Open conference title on Sunday, May 31, at the San Juan Arena.
Valdez was superb, scoring clutch kills in the final two sets and finishing with 29 points - 25 on attacks.
Santiago, who was named the Finals MVP, finished with 17 points and converted the championship-clinching kill in the fifth set.
The first set was error-laden for Army, which committed 10 mistakes that led to easy points for PLDT, who went on top late in the set 24-20.
A pair of conversions by Bautista and Jovelyn Gonzaga put some pressure on Home Ultera, but a service error by veteran Jean Balse gave PLDT first blood.
Army came back with stronger defensive effort in the second set, registering 7 block points while limiting PLDT to zero.
PLDT managed to keep the set close at 22-18, but 3 straight conversions from the Lady Troopers - including conversions by Tina Salak and Rachel Daquis - tied the game at one set apiece.
The third set went down the wire, as net errors by PLDT allowed Army to tie the contest at 24. After a kill by Gonzaga broke the tie, a net error by Valdez put the Lady Troopers ahead 2-1.
Valdez made up for her miscue late in the fourth set, where after an intense back and forth of errors and conversions, the game was tied at 26. That's when the two-time UAAP MVP hit on two consecutive cross-court kills, forcing a deciding set.
With his team up 14-13 and on the brink of a championship following a score by Suzanne Roces, Head Coach Roger Gorayeb put in Santiago, who subsequently scored on a short spike to clinch the game.
Army had many opportunities to win the title, including holding a 21-19 lead in the fourth set and going ahead 3-0 to start the fifth period.
PLDT finished the conference winning 12 of 13 games.