PVL: Cignal outlasts Petro Gazz in thriller to fortify semis bid
MANILA, Philippines — Cignal blew a two-set lead but kept its composure in the fifth set with the locals delivering the clutch hits to stave off Petro Gazz, 25-22, 34-32, 15-25, 16-25, 15-13, and boost its semifinals chances in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With Cignal import Tai Bierria being subbed out for Rachel Anne Daquis midway in the fifth set, the HD Spikers fought back from an 8-11 deficit as Glaudine Troncoso drilled back-to-back attacks to tie the decider at 11. Ces Molina maintained the frame leveled at 12-all but Aiza Maizo-Pontillas brought back the lead to the Angels’ side, nailing a kill off the block.
Rose Doria drilled a cross-court spike but it was initially called outside, which Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos challenged. His video challenge was deemed successful, showing that the ball still landed down the line to equalize the set, 13-all.
The successful challenge proved to be a turning point as Daquis nailed a big block on MJ Phillips for the matchpoint, 14-13, before Doria nailed the game-winning ace to end the two-hour and 36-minute match and overcome the 29-point explosion of Petro Gazz import Lindsey Vander Weide.
“We were lucky to get a (successful challenge). We knew that the ball bounced but it barely hit the line. But it was crucial as it was our turning point to recover in the fifth set,” said Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos in Filipino.
The HD Spikers earned their second consecutive victory to force a triple tie at 3-2 in the third place with the Angels and the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers with two semis berths remaining. Joint leaders Creamline and Chery Tiggo have earned the first two.
Bierria still finished with 19 points from her 18 spikes. Molina provided the spark off the bench with 13 points. Ria Meneses had 11 points, while Daquis added nine points, highlighted by two blocks, and made seven digs.
“I just told them to just bring back our normal game, the one that got us through in the first two sets. Good thing we’re able to get this tough win,” delos Santos said.
Cignal showed its resilience in a 43-minute second set, fighting back from a 24-20 deficit after Myla Pablo blocked Angeli Araneta. But the HD Spikers refused to give up the set as they scored five straight points, ignited by Araneta’s back-to-back attacks, to take a 25-24 advantage.
They saved four set-point advantages with the help of their opponents’ costly errors, as Ria Meneses put them ahead with a drop, 31-30. Pablo tied the set anew, 32-all, but Bierria’s hit followed by a long spike of Phillips handed a two-set lead for Cignal, which lost steam in the third and fourth frames.
Vander Weide poured 24 kills, four aces, and a block to go with 16 digs. Phillips chipped in 17 points. Pontillas and setter Djanel Cheng had 11 points each with the former pacing Petro Gazz with 15 excellent sets, while Jonah Sabete added 10 markers.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.