November 24, 2021

Chery Tiggo stays alive in PNVF Champions League race

LIPA City--Chery Tiggo, priming up for its much-anticipated duel with F2 Logistics for the championship, coasted to a 25-13, 25-17, 25-14 win over Baguio City in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League on Wednesday at the Aquamarine Recreational Center.

The Crossovers, who were led by May Luna's 11 points, are assured of at least a silver medal with a 3-1 record behind the Cargo Movers' 4-0 slate.

F2 Logistics, which has yet to drop a set, goes for the gold medal against the reigning Premier Volleyball League Open Conference champions at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The team with the best record after the six-day tournament will be the country's representative to the Asian Women's Club Volleyball Championship in May next year.

A three- or four-set victory will give Chery Tiggo the crown, but a five-set victory will not be enough for coach Aaron Velez's side to escape with the trophy because of their inferior points and set ratio quotient.

In the first tiebreaker, the Crossovers are trailing the Cargo Movers, 10-12, as well as in the set ratio, where F2 Logistics is 12-0 compared to Chery Tiggo's 11-4.

"We will take it one point at a time. I think the first set is going to set the tempo of the match," Velez said.

Ranged against one of the country's most successful commercial teams, the Crossovers simply wanted to end the Champions League in style even without their ace Jaja Santiago.

"Hopefully it's going to be a match that we will remember," said Velez, whose team is seeking to complete a sweep of this year's two tournaments.

"This is the last tournament for this year. We are going to give our best," he said.

Luna, who was acquired by Chery Tiggo last September, was given significant court time by Velez as they build-up for the finale.

"I want everyone to have a fair share, to contribute and gain experience. Given that she is new to our team, I think in no time, she will be able to adjust to our system and jell with the team," Velez said.

Julia Angeles, the Crossovers' second libero who was also added to the roster last September, also shone with 15 digs and 10 receptions.

Arianne Layug had nine points, including three service aces, and seven receptions, while Chery Tiggo's middles Maika Ortiz and Joy Dacoron chipped in eight and seven points, respectively.

The Lady Highlanders, who fell to 0-5, drew six points and five receptions from Ann Atuban.