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Cignal downs PLDT

Ces Molina's stellar performance pulls Cignal closer to a PVL Invitational Conference championship seat. (PVL photo)

Games Saturday:

(PhilSports Arena)

9:30 a.m. –– Chery Tiggo vs Choco Mucho

12:00 p.m. — F2 Logistics vs PLDT

4:00 p.m. — Creamline vs Cignal

6:30 p.m. — Vietnam vs Japan

Cignal boosted its finals bid with a 25-22, 25-15, 25-21, victory over sister team PLDT to start its Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference semifinals campaign on a high note Thursday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Ces Molina and Roselyn Doria played clutch in the closing stretch of the tightly-contested third set to extend the HD Spikers’ winning run to four in a row and improve to a 1-1 carryover win-loss semis record.

Cignal clawed its way back from a five-point deficit, 7-12, in the third frame with Molina putting the HD Spikers on top, 19-17, with three straight points.

The High Speed Hitters tied it at 20 before Doria scored three of Cignal’s next four points capped by a kill block on PLDT skipper Mika Reyes for matchpoint.

Molina sent her attack long in the next play but the HD Spikers sealed the win with a free point when High Speed Hitters setter Rhea Dimaculangan committed a net touch.

“We still had a lot of lapses the entire game. But good thing we got the win in three sets,” Cignal coach Shaq delos Santos said.

Molina produced 17 points with 16 coming from spikes while Jovelyn Gonzaga had an all-around game with 12 markers, six digs and 10 excellent receptions for the HD Spikers, who will take on defending champion Creamline on Saturday.

Doria delivered 10 points including three kill blocks while Gel Cayuna tallied 15 excellent receptions and four points for the HD Spikers.

PLDT was put in a precarious position of bombing out in the finals seat race with a 0-2 card.

Fiola Ceballos paced the High Speed Hitters with eight points while Reyes, Michelle Morente and Royse Tubino had seven each.

Meanwhile, Petro Gazz flirted with disaster before pulling off a five-set win over Akari, 25-19, 25-18, 20-25, 20-25, 15-7, in the battle for ninth place.

The Angels veteran trio of Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Grethccel Soltones and Jonah Sabete took over in the fifth frame to quell the Chargers’ uprising and cap their campaign on a winning note.

Petro Gazz recovered in time after throwing away the third and fourth sets following a strong start in its final outing in the mid-season tournament.

Three straight points by Pontillas followed by an ace by Marian Buitre, who stepped up in the absence of starting middle Remy Palma, pushed Petro Gazz’s lead to 5-1 in the deciding frame.

The Angels opened a 10-2 advantage off a KC Galdones kill block. Akari cut its deficit to five, 5-10, but Petro Gazz scored four unanswered points to move at match point.

Two match points were saved by Akari before Lut Malaluan committed the last of the Chargers’ atrocious 35 errors from the service line.

“Firstly, that’s what we reminded naman each other na let’s get this game. But we cannot count out Akari, you know? They’re very talented team, very well-coached, very well-prepared so good thing got the first two sets,” Petro Gazz coach Oliver Almadro said.

Soltones finished with 15 points – all off attacks – with 11 digs and 14 excellent receptions while Jonah Sabete had 15 markers for the Angels. Pontillas and Buitre, who started for the resting Palma, scored 10 each while Djanel Cheng tallied 14 excellent sets and had seven markers for Petro Gazz, which pumped in 60 attack points.

“As a matter of fact, we missed the services of Remy. So good thing Marian Buitre delivered, our middles and we’re happy for the contribution of all of the players that we used. Everyone contributed and it just boils down sa leadership of Ate Cheng, Ate Chie (Saet), Nang (Pontillas), Grethcel and all those mattered in the endgame. So we’re happy we won. But of course, we have to rest and prepare for the next [conference],” Almadro said.

Eli Soyud got 19 points, Erika Raagas posted 14 while Faith Nisperos had 11 markers for the Chargers.

In the curtain-raiser, Foton finished 11th after beating co-expansion team Gerflor, 26-24, 13-25, 25-21, 26-24.

Shaya Adorador blasted 22 points and had 13 excellent receptions while Seth Rodriguez chipped in 13 for the Tornadoes.

The Defenders saw the 15 points of Alyssa Bertolano and Justine Dorog as well as the 12 markers of Ranya Musa and Ethan Arce’s 11 go down the drain.

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