Cignal takes first PVL final seat

American Tai Bierria of Cignal eludes the defense of Petro Gazz middle Remy Palma during their PVL Reinforced Conference semifinals match. Cignal takes the first Finals seat despite losing in four sets to Petro Gazz. Photo courtesy of PVL

Cignal may have absorbed a sorry loss at the hands of Petro Gazz but it had the last laugh by winning just one set.

In a strange twist of fate in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference round robin Final Four, the HD Spikers secured the first championship seat despite the Angels snatching a 25-14, 25-21, 25-27, 25-19, victory on Tuesday, 29 November at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Petro Gazz tied Cignal with 2-1 win-loss records with six points each. However, the HD Spikers took the first ticket to the best-of-three Finals by virtue of superior set ratio of 1.75 compared to 1.5 of the Angels.

Cignal will await its championship rival on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

American Lindsey Vander Weide scored all of her 30 points on attacks in a 30-of-79 spiking clip while MJ Phillips tallied seven of the Angels’ 13 kill blocks to finish with 13 markers in an effort that could come into naught if Creamline defeats Chery Tiggo in straight or four sets.

Aiza Maizo-Pontillas added 10 points for Petro Gazz, which threw away 28 points off errors and its biggest chance of making it to the Finals outright with a third set meltdown.

“We’ll take the win. It’s unfortunate but we just want to win. Let’s see the factor will play in a three-way tie,” Angels coach Rald Ricafort said.

But the mood changed for the Petro Gazz mentor when reporters informed him that they could still face elimination pending the result of the Creamline-Chery Tiggo match still being played as of press time.

“It will not depend on Creamline… It’s already out of our hands. At least, we did our part. The expectations on us are high,” he said.

American Tai Bierria’s heroics in the extended third set was enough to give Cignal its breakthrough championship stint after back-to-back third place finishes in the Open and Invitational conferences this season.

Pushed on the brink of missing the finals after trailing 21-24 in the third set, Bierria put matters into her own hands with three straight points that gave Cignal set point advantage, 25-24, following Phillips’ net touch error that saved a match point for the HD Spikers.

Phillips knotted it at 25 before Bierria scored on a dink followed by Riri Meneses’ quick attack to steal the set and secure the championship seat.

Bierria was the only HD Spiker in double figures with 15 points all coming from kills.

Meneses got eight while Roselyn Doria and Ces Molina scored seven each for Cignal.

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