Cignal came away with a 28-26, 25-17, 25-23 victory over Chery Tiggo in practically the same fashion as Creamline’s win over Petro Gazz earlier to share leadership in the 2022 PVL Reinforced Conference semis, Thursday at PhilSports Arena.
The HD Spikers saved a set point and bucked a couple of blown chances in the protracted first set then turned a fierce, furious second set skirmish that featured 11 deadlocks into a runaway triumph. Like the Cool Smashers, the HD Spikers also trailed majority of the third but stepped up their assault in the stretch and hacked out the inspiring victory.
“Every victory is a blessing. I just need to keep working and keep getting better,” said Cignal import Tai Bierria, who lacks the explosiveness of her counterparts but packs a game that has helped carry the HD Spikers past the elims and now in a share of the lead with the Cool Smashers in the Final Four.
She ended up turning in a career-high 21 points, unloading a series of hits in the second frame then sustaining her pace in the third as the HD Spikers outhit (52-39) and outplayed the No. 2 Crossovers.
The victories set up No. 1 Creamline and the fourth-ranked Cignal in a crucial face-off Sunday back at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the round robin semis with the winner to inch closer to a dream final stint in the season-ending conference organized by Sports Vision.
It actually took a while before Cignal could log the win as Chery Tiggo went for a block touch challenge on a Mylene Paat blast that sailed long that was, however, ruled unsuccessful.
Rachel Anne Daquis failed to hit double figures with nine points while Riri Meneses and Roselyn Doria added eight points apiece and Ces Moline struggled for just five points. But with Bierria on the firing end and Cignal denying Chery Tiggo of any set, the HD Spikers found themselves matching the fancied Cool Smashers' straight-set romp.
Paat finished with 11 points while import Jelena Cvijovic and EJ Laure added 10 and eight points, respectively, for the Crossovers.