November 22, 2022

Good or bust for Cignal, Choco Mucho

Cignal expects import Tai Bierria to be on the mend in a must-win game against Choco Mucho today (Tuesday) as the HD Spikers and the Flying Titans slug it out for the last semifinal berth at the close of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference elims at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

Bierria was unwell in their crucial match against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers last Saturday and didn’t see action in the first set although the HD Spikers still pulled through with an all-Filipino crew before yielding the next.

But the American did play in the next two frames, scoring six points and helping anchor Cignal’s four-set victory that moved it closer to joining Creamline, Chery Tiggo and Petro Gazz in the post-elims play.

But the HD Spikers need to be in full force against the Flying Titans in their 2:30 p.m. as the latter also go flat out for a victory with an eye on snatching the last semis seat.

A victory by Choco Mucho would tie the Flying Titans with the HD Spikers at fourth at 4-4. The former, however, must win in three or four sets to advance based on the points system in breaking ties.

Cignal has 11 points, Choco Mucho has 9 and F2 Logistics has 8.

At 3-4, F2 Logistics, which battles Petro Gazz in the final elims match at 5:30 p.m., also hopes to close out its campaign with a victory. But even if the Cargo Movers would end up at 4-4, they still wouldn’t figure in the race since they have lost to the Flying Titans last Oct. 13 and to the HD Spikers over the weekend and are behind on points.

F2 Logistics actually zeroed in on a Final Four slot after bouncing back from back-to-back losses with three straight wins, including a stirring come-from-behind victory over the highly-fancied Cool Smashers. But a stinging loss to ousted Akari last Nov. 15 stalled the Cargo Movers’ charge and their setback to the HD Spikers all but dashed their semis hopes in the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

That leaves Choco Mucho as the only other team with a chance to ruin Cignal’s semis aspirations although the Flying Titans are also reeling from a sorry loss to the Cool Smashers last Thursday in a match that set a new record crowd of 19,157 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Choco Mucho, however, played without import Odina Aliyeva due to health concerns but the Uzbekistan-born Azerbaijani is expected to have recovered in time for the team’s do-or-die match with the HD Spikers.

Kat Tolentino and Des Cheng, who combined for 41 points against the Open Conference and Invitational champions, along with Bea de Leon, Cherry Nunag, Isa Molde and playmakers Jem Ferrer and Deanna Wong, are also eager to get going and slug it out with Cignal locals Rachel Anne Daquis, Ces Molina, Chay Troncoso, Roselyn Doria, Angeli Araneta, Ria Meneses and ace setter Gel Cayuna.

Games are aired on One Sports, One Sports+, Cignal Play and Smart Gigaplay.