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HD Spikers near PVL finals


Games Tuesday:

(Philsports Arena)

2:30 p.m. – Petro Gazz vs Cignal

5:30 p.m. – Chery Tiggo vs Creamline


Cignal moved a step closer to claiming a championship spot after hurdling error-filled Creamline in a come-from-behind, 23-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-18, win in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference round robin semifinals yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

American import Tai Bierria once again came off the bench but delivered another explosive performance hitting 17 kills on her way to tying her tournament personal-best 21 points to lead the HD Spikers, who took advantage of the Cool Smashers’ atrocious 33 errors for a 2-0 semis slate.

Cignal, which won its fourth straight while snapping the Creamline’s three-game roll, can secure a spot in the best-of-three Finals with another win over Petro Gazz on Tuesday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Bierria, who had six excellent receptions, hammered down the decisive back-to-back hits to end the second set following a service error by Creamline’s pinch server Fille Cayetano that tied the frame at 23 for a 1-1 match count.

She was also instrumental in the extended third set, pushing Cignal to its first setpoint advantage, 25-24, saving a setpoint before eventually punching in then set-clinching spike.

“I just tried to go out there and do my thing,” Bierria said.

The power-hitter, who gave the HD Spikers a 20-12 lead in the fourth frame, also credited her local teammates for holding their own.

“Having a team like the team that I have makes it really easier to do my job. When I mess up, they pick me up. My weaknesses are their strengths, so my performance really is an indication of what a good team that we have, the chemistry that we all share,” Bierria said.

Riri Meneses backed Bierria with 11 points built on nine kills including the match-clinching quick attack that sealed the two-hour, eight-minute encounter.

Angeli Araneta got 10 markers, Ces Molina had eight, Roselyn Doria got seven points while Gel Cayuna tallied 16 excellent sets on top of five points including three kill blocks for the HD Spikers, who frustrated the Cool Smashers’ attackers with 12 points off blocks.

“We’re just happy for the win. We know Creamline is not an easy team to beat. You really have to be well-prepared and well-conditioned to beat them. We have high respect to them and the other teams in the top four,” Cignal coach Shaq de los Santos, whose squad is now a step closer to reaching the Finals since joining the league two years ago, said.

Creamline dropped to 1-1 slate and was put in a precarious position in its bid to complete a grand slam after ruling the Open and Invitational conferences.

Skipper Alyssa Valdez scored 20 points with 17 coming off spikes while adding 22 digs in a losing effort for the Cool Smashers.

Turkish import Yeliz Basa posted 17 points, Jema Galanza had 13 markers while Jeanette Panaga had 10 for Creamline. Middle Ced Domingo was limited to just six markers after scoring 10 in the Cool Smashers’ straight sets win over Petro Gazz last Thursday.

Creamline will face Chery Tiggo on Tuesday.

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