Ces Molina delivered a sizzling performance in powering undermanned Cignal to a hard-earned 25-16, 20-25, 25-21, 25-20, victory over sister-team PLDT to kick off its Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference campaign on a bright note Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The veteran winger pounded all of her 20 points off attacks including the game-clinching back-to-back hits to seal the two-hour, six-minute encounter.
Cignal pulled off the escape despite missing the services of grizzled soldiers Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga. Daquis is currently in the United States for coaching camp while enlisted personnel Gonzaga has yet to receive a clearance to play from the Philippine Army.
“It’s a team effort and I’m very proud of my teammates for stepping up. They filled the spots left by some of our players’ absence. We were able to execute what we trained for months under coach Shaq,” Molina, the reigning PVL Invitational Conference Most Valuable Player, said.
Molina added 11 digs while Vannie Gandler shined in a starting role finishing with 12 points with all but one coming off spikes.
Toni Basas also had 12 markers while Jacqueline Acuna scored eight for the HD Spikers, who took the bronze medal in the first serving of the AFC early this year.
After splitting the first two sets, Cignal regained the match lead with a tough showing in the closing stretch of the third frame. Down, 20-21, the HD Spikers racked five unanswered points to close the set.
The High Speed Hitters behind Filipino-Canadian rookie Savannah Davison put up strong resistance in the fourth in a back-and-forth battle but the HD Spikers made sure that they won’t be denied of victory.
Davison had 17 points and 11 digs, Erika Santos scored all of her 11 markers on kills while Royse Tubino chipped in 10 for PLDT, which played injured Jovelyn Prado, Mean Mendrez and Lut Malaluan.