Cignal aims for a breakthrough finals appearance when it battles Petro Gazz at the close of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference round-robin semifinals today at the Philsports Arena.
Riding the momentum of a morale-boosting four-set win over Creamline last Sunday, the HD Spikers are out to complete a sweep of the Final Four in the 2:30 p.m. match.
Cignal is on the cusp of entering the championship round for the first time since joining the league in in 2020 after back-to-back third place finishes in the Open and Invitational Conferences this year.
Led by American Tai Bierria, Riri Meneses and Angeli Araneta, the HD Spikers stunned elimination round tormentors Cool Smashers with a come-from-behind, 23-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-18, win for a 2-0 semis win-loss record.
Despite having a foot inside the championship door, Cignal head coach Shaq de los Santos reminds his wards that the work is still far from over as they still need to win over the Angels to secure a spot in the best-of-three finals series.
“Our win against Creamline doesn’t mean that we can be complacent. We need to go all out. So, hopefully, we can maintain or improve our performance,” he said.
The HD Spikers, in fact, only need to win two sets to secure a finals ticket as a five-set loss will award them a point for a superior tiebreak in case of a three-way tie at 2-1.
The HD Spikers defeated the Angels, 25-22, 34-32, 15-25, 16-25, 15-13, in their elimination round encounter last 10 November.
Petro Gazz, on the other hand, is also energized by a 25-15, 25-17, 25-13, rebound win over eliminated Chery Tiggo following a sorry straight sets defeat at the hands of Creamline in the semis opener last Thursday.
Tied with the Cool Smashers at 1-1, the Angels need to win by straight or four sets and pray to end up with a higher tiebreak if there will be a three-team logjam at 2-1 card.
An easier route for Petro Gazz is to win its game coupled with the Crossovers scoring an upset over Creamline.
Meanwhile, the Cool Smashers’ grand slam bid is now in peril with the Alyssa Valdez-led crew on the brink of missing the Finals for the first time since 2017.
A loss by Creamline coupled with a Petro Gazz win will relegate the squad into the battle for third against the Crossovers, who are winless in two outings.
The Cool Smashers, though, could still make it into the championship even if they lose by five sets if the Angels also drop their match in straight or four sets.
In this scenario of a three-way tie at 1-2, Creamline will hold a superior tiebreak compared to Petro Gazz and Chery Tiggo.