CAME ever so close from notching their first victory in the ongoing Chooks-to-Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix last time around, the Smart Giga Hitters make another go at it when they take on the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors on the final play date of the elimination round today at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Currently at the bottom of the eight-team field of the tournament with a 0-9 record, the Giga Hitters look to finish the classification phase on a winning note and build some momentum heading into the quarterfinals this weekend.
Smart enters the 7 p.m. contest off a record performance from import Gyselle Silva, who made PSL history by scoring 56 points against the Cocolife Asset Managers on April 8 in Batangas City.
The Cuban sensation shook Philippine volleyball when she erupted for 53 kills and three aces against Cocolife.
Her production was the highest ever in the country and third best in the world behind the 58 points of Polina Rahimova of Azerbaijan in 2015 and the 57 points of Madison Kingdon of United States in 2017 and Elitsa Vasileva of Bulgaria in 2013.
Unfortunately for the Giga Hitters, despite the historic performance of Ms. Silva it was not enough to help them avoid falling for a ninth straight time, 23-25, 21-25, 29-27, 25-19 and 14-16.
Nonetheless, Smart is still looking at Ms. Silva’s showing against Cocolife as a positive cue as the team goes for that elusive first victory.
“Her (Silva) main goal is to give us a victory. She’s very focused on training and actual games. So I’m not discounting the possibility that she can either match or surpass that impressive performance in our next few matches,” said Smart coach Ronald Dulay of their reinforcement.
Looking to thwart Smart’s push and keep it winless are the Lady Realtors who shocked top-echelon team Petron Blaze Spikers in straight sets in their last game.
Meanwhile, set to play in the opening game at 4:15 p.m. are the Cignal HD Spikers (3-6) against Generika-Ayala Lifesavers.
PSL matches are broadcast over ESPN5. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo