PVL: KingWhale shuts down PLDT, helps Creamline secure finals berth
MANILA, Philippines — KingWhale displayed grace under pressure in the fifth set and denied PLDT’s comeback, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13, to boost its gold medal chances in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Taipei-based squad blew a 2-1 match advantage and went down 8-12 in the fifth set. But Chen Li-Jun delivered the timely hits as KingWhale scored six straight points to reach match point, 14-12.
Jovielyn Prado stopped the bleeding to save a point. However, Mika Reyes committed a crucial service error that put their fate out of their hands as PLDT finished the semifinals round 2-2, needing back-to-back losing results from Taipei’s last two games for a chance to enter the final.
Taipei’s victory also sent Creamline (3-0) to the winner-take-all final on Sunday at the same venue even before their match on Friday at FilOil EcoOil Arena in San Juan.
KingWhale coach Teng Yen Min still lauded PLDT’s gallant stand and praised George Pascua’s coaching.
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“They are very strong and they are cooperative. Today’s competition made us learn, and it taught us many things. Their coach is very smart, the PLDT coach,” said Teng. “In set 5, my players are doing their best, and they made themselves strong in their body and heart.”
Brazil import Beatriz led KingWhale with 19 points, off 15 attacks, three blocks, and an ace including 19 digs. Li-Jun delivered 13 points and 14 excellent receptions for their second win in the tournament.
Chen Chieh had an all-around game with 11 points, 24 digs, and eight receptions. Tsai Qin-Yao added 10 markers, while setter Liao Yi-Jen dished out 36 excellent sets.
Dell Palomata showed the way for PLDT with 19 points. Reyes chipped in 17 points. Jules Samonte had 16 points, while Prado added 11 markers, 20 digs, and 22 excellent receptions.
The High Speed Hitters ended their semis round with two straight losses after a 2-0 start. Toni Rose Basas had 10 points. Rhea Dimaculan made 32 excellent sets, while libero Kath Arado had 27 digs and 24 receptions.