PVL: PLDT books semis, beats shorthanded Cignal
MANILA, Philippines — Mika Reyes and Fiola Ceballos powered PLDT in pouncing depleted Cignal, 25-19, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22, to clinch a berth in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference semifinals on Saturday at San Juan Arena.
Reyes tallied 14 points off 12 attacks and two blocks, as Ceballos delivered 13 points, including the game-winning kill that sent the High Speed Hitters to the next round with a 4-2 record.
Rhea Dimaculangan distributed the offensive loads with 18 excellent sets and had three points off two aces. Jules Samonte had nine points, while Toni Rose Basas and Dell Palomata added eight and seven markers, respectively.
PLDT took advantage of the absence of Rachel Anne Daquis, who missed the game with four other players due to health issues. Ces Molina was at the venue but she was wearing a walking boot after suffering a right ankle injury from their four-set loss to Petro Gazz last Tuesday.
Despite being undermanned, the eight-woman HD Spikers, led by Klarisa Abriam and Angeli Araneta, put up a gallant stand, taking the third set and threatening to force a decider when they tied the fourth set to 22-all. However, Gel Cayuna’s service error and misreceiving Jules Samonte’s serve gave PLDT the matchpoint, 24-22, before Ceballos nailed the game-winning attack.
PLDT joined Creamline (5-1) and Cignal (4-2) in the semifinal round, where they will play foreign squads Kobe Shinwa University of Japan and KingWhale Taipei in another round robin.
Choco Mucho is trying to dispute the last semis berth, needing to win in straight sets against the Petro Gazz as of posting time. A five-setter will automatically award the last ticket to Army Black Mamba holding the tiebreaker in points despite losing to Creamline, 20-25, 22-25, 16-25, earlier.
“Our goal every conference is to improve our standings. But the job is not done. We’re just getting started,” said High Speed Hitters head coach George Pascua in Filipino after making his first semis appearance from a fifth-place finish last conference.
“Every game we have to give our best so we will not regret anything,” he added.
Klarisa Abriam led shorthanded Cignal with 15 points. Angeli Araneta 14 and 20 digs, while Ria Meneses added 11 markers including a game-high four blocks.
Marist Layug attended her graduation at University of the Philippines and went straight to the game, arriving in the second set and contributing five points.