Philips shines for Sta. Lucia

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star

BACARRA, Ilocos Norte, Philippines — Sta. Lucia Realty rode on MJ Philips’ strong effort as it survived fancied Chery Tiggo’s late fightback and eked out a 25-20, 25-12, 24-26, 20-25, 15-12 win yesterday to enhance its semifinal bid in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference at the PCV Socio-Civic & Cultural Center here.

The power-hitting Philips unleashed a match-best 23 points she laced with a game-high five blocks including one against Dindin Santiago-Manabat late in the fifth and last set to help propel the Lady Realtors to a 3-3 (win-loss) record.

The 26-year-old Philips, a Carson, California native whose mother Rowena hails from Zambales, later said staying hungry was key.

“We’re getting our rhythm, we’re just hungry and we just want to keep on winning and fighting and leave it on the court and treat it like a championship game every game,” said Philips, who led all hitters with 24 points including a match-high five blocks.

But Sta. Lucia nearly blew it.

Up two sets to none and ahead twice in the third, 19-13, and at matchpoint, 24-23, the Lady Realtors succumbed to pressure and allowed the Crossovers to steal the set and build momentum from it to take the fourth and fourth a decider. Philips, with help from the clutch-spiking duo of Jovielyn Prado and Jonah Sabete, then took over.

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