PVL: PLDT earns last semis ticket, outlasts Chery Tiggo | Inquirer Sports

PVL: PLDT earns last semis ticket, outlasts Chery Tiggo

/ 11:00 PM July 18, 2023

PLDT’s Mean Mendrez during a game against Chery Tiggo in the PVL Invitational Conference. MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Mean Mendrez and Dell Palomata came to the rescue down the stretch to lift PLDT over Chery Tiggo in five sets, 25-21, 16-25, 25-23, 25-27, 15-12, for the last bus ride to the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference semifinal round on Tuesday night at Philsports Arena.

When Mylene Paat scored her 29th point to tie the fifth set at 11-all, Mendrez and Palomata gave the High Speed Hitters a 13-11 breather before Imee Hernandez nailed a quick attack to trim it a one-point game.

Palomata blocked Hernandez’s next attack to reach match point, 14-12, followed by the game-winning block of Mendrez on Eya Laure to complete the semis cast with local teams Creamline, F2 Logistics, and Cignal and visiting Japanese squad Kurashiki Ablaze and Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh.

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Mendrez led the High Speed Hitters, who lost Jovy Prado due to an ACL injury, with a team-high 16 points off 13 attacks and three blocks, while Palomata had 14 points including two blocks.

“It was a test of character. I always remind my players of our bad loss [against Creamline]. Our mindset today was not to pressure ourselves and take it as a normal game,” said PLDT coach Rald Ricafort in Filipino. “Jov was also our extra motivation. We wanted to win it for her.”

PLDT will enter the semis round with a 0-1 record, carrying its straight-set loss to Creamline in their Pool A game.

Setter Rhea Dimaculangan paced the High Speed Hitters with 19 excellent sets on top of five points including two aces. Mich Morente had 12 points and 11 digs. Fiola Ceballos added 10 markers and 16 excellent receptions, as Kath Arado protected the floor with 23 digs.

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Paat poured in 22 attacks, four blocks, and three aces. Pauline Gaston was also instrumental with 16 points including three blocks, while Hernandez added 12 markers.

Laure struggled with eight points on top of 15 receptions and five digs as Chery Tiggo is relegated to the battle for seventh against Choco Mucho after finishing 2-2 in Pool A.

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TAGS: Chery Tiggo Crossovers, PLDT High Speed Hitters, PVL

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