PLDT embarked on a virtual cruise in the opening set but faced challenges in the next two, needing to thwart Nxled with clutch hits to annex a 25-17, 25-23, 25-22 victory and catch Chery Tiggo at the helm of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference prelims at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City Tuesday.

Despite their struggles in finishing off the resurgent Chameleons, the High Speed Hitters came through with timely shots, particularly through Savi Davison’s power blasts and Jessey de Leon’s quick hits, while securing crucial points in the stretch to pound out the victory in one-hour and 29 minutes.
It mirrored their 25-22, 25-6, 25-9 triumph over the Galeries Tower Highrisers last Thursday as they tied the idle Crossovers, who likewise kicked off their campaign in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision via 3-0 routs of the Solar Spikers and the Athletics.

PLDT overpowered Nxled in spikes, 43-31, but Nxled produced eight blocks against the former’s six. The High Speed Hitters, however, capitalized on the Chameleons’ shaky reception, scoring seven aces, four more than their rivals.

Though they practically cancelled it out in unforced errors, 19-20, the High Speed Hitters cashed in on the Chameleons’ glaring eight service miscues in the second that helped fuel their victory.

“We’re happy that we were able to sustain our momentum from our last game. But there’s still a lot of things to be fixed. Mabigat ang susunod na kalaban,” said PLDT coach Rald Ricafort, referring to their next match against Petro Gazz on March 2.

Davison took over at endgame of the tightly fought second frame, hammering in a through-the-block hit to give PLDT a 24-22 advantage. She then redeemed herself from a botched attack with a decisive kill to conclude the set.

Kamille Cal foiled Davison assault to keep Nxled within, 23-24, but the Fil-Canadian continued to deliver, converting Kim Fajardo’s feed into a powerful hit that clinched the set for PLDT.

Kath Arado, who nailed the game’s top honors with 29 excellent digs and 12 receptions, underscored the significance of their rigorous training, saying: “Our mindset is to keep on winning and we work hard for all of this in training.”

Davison finished with 13 points, all on attacks, while de Leon added 11 markers and middle Majoy Baron backed them up with 10 hits, including a couple of power tips.

Ivy Lacsina shone for Nxled with 12 points after debuting with six against the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, while Camille Victoria and Krich Macaslang scored seven points apiece, and Lycha Ebon, Cal and May Luna combined for 14 markers.

In the second set, flawed serving stymied the Chameleons’ charge as they conceded eight points although they kept the game close behind Lacsina, Victoria and Luna.

The Chameleons also came out of the third frame an organized lot, seizing an 8-4 lead. But the High Speed Hitters rattled four straight points after the first technical timeout, eventually pulling ahead at 11-9.

Despite PLDT remaining in control until the end, Nxled stayed within striking distance, saving two match points on a PLDT flubbed attack and a Victoria block off Kiesha Bedonia, 22-24.

In a final attempt to rally, Victoria overcooked a shot, allowing the High Speed Hitters to pick up another straight-set victory following an unsuccessful Nxled challenge.