PVL: Mylene Paat powers Chery Tiggo past Army to clinch semis berth
MANILA, Philippines— Mylene Paat took matters into her own hands in the endgame to lift Chery Tiggo into the semifinals of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference with a 22-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25-18, 15-12 victory over the winless United Auctioneers Inc.-Army on Thursday at Philsports Arena.
Paat, the league’s top local scorer, unleashed 23 points, including the game-clinching attack that clinched the semis ticket for the Crossovers as she stopped the bleeding after Royse Tubino helped the Lady Troopers save three match points to cut down the lead to two, 14-12.
Besides Paat’s scoring prowess, Chery Tiggo also leaned on the steady floor defense of Jelena Cvijovic to overcome a 0-2 start in the fifth set and sparked a 6-0 run to take a 6-2 lead before Czarina Carandang nailed back-to-back blocks followed by Shaya Adorador’s drop to pull away with an 11-6 spread.
“We really had a slow start. We don’t know what happened to us in the first set but we tried to boost the morale of our players to keep on fighting. At least we were able to compensate for our lapses from the early part of the match,” said Chery Tiggo coach Clarence Esteban in Filipino.
Cvijovic chipped in 19 points and 19 excellent receptions, while Carandang had 15 points from 11 attacks, two blocks, and two aces to fuel the Crossovers’ fightback from a 1-2 match deficit and stay unbeaten in five matches.
“It was a tough game. Army really had a good defense and good service so we really had to put in a lot of effort. But I’m really grateful to God and to the saint that we celebrate today in my country, it’s a special day today. I’m really happy that it finished like this,” said the Montenegrin spiker, whose family is celebrating a special occasion back home.
Carandang nailed the timely hits in the fifth set, EJ Laure contributed nine points and 12 digs while Roselle Baliton tallied a team-high five blocks for eight markers.
“I’m happy because my teammates inspire me with their collective effort. Coach also told me in the endgame that they need me, we need each other as a team until the end of this game,” Carandang said.
Despite their fifth straight win, Esteban warned Chery Tiggo to avoid another slow start against fellow unbeaten team Creamline (4-0) in their upcoming duel on November 5 at Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.
“Both of us will have a long break because of the holidays but we won’t stop working in training and we will prepare the best strategy possible for Creamline. All of the players from both teams almost have the same skills. It’s a game of momentum, if we can get the momentum early then we go for it,” said Esteban.
Tubino unloaded a game-high 24 points, while Canadian spiker Laura Condotta tallied 21 points, 16 digs, and 12 excellent receptions only for the Lady Troopers to remain winless in four matches.
Army also drew offensive contributions from Jovelyn Gonzaga and Jeanette Villareal, who had 14 and 11 points, respectively. But it fell on the brink of elimination, needing to win against Cignal on November 3 at FilOil EcoOil Center.
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