Perlas scores breakthrough win at expense of free-falling Cignal

The Perlas Spikers finally joined the winners’ circle in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference with a grinding four-set win, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21, over the reeling Cignal HD Spikers at the Bacarra, Ilocos Norte bubble on Thursday, July 29.

Perlas, formerly associated with BanKo, snapped a two-game losing streak after exiting quarantine for a 1-2 record while Cignal dropped its third straight game, and lagged to a 1-5 slate, one loss away from elimination.

Gel Cayuna steered the offense en route to the team’s first professional win with 24 excellent sets, and 9 points with 4 aces to boot.

Nicole Tiamzon, Cherry Nunag, and Heather Guino-o, meanwhile, all benefited equally from Cayuna’s playmaking with 13 points apiece while veteran hitter Sue Roces chipped in 11 markers.

Head coach Rei Diaz breathed a sigh of relief after his team finally broke through after a tough quarantine delay, and back-to-back losses on consecutive days.

Sobrang laki kasi yung opportunity, at nabigyan namin ng hustisya. Tapos ang isa pa naming kailangan kasi ‘yung kumpiyansa, so ‘yung panalo, malaking kumpiyansa ang mabibigay individually,” he said.

(This is really a big opportunity for us, and we gave it justice. Plus, we really needed the confidence boost, and this win gives just that for everyone.)

Both teams fought blow-for-blow in the battle of reeling squads, and were dead even in the third set, 22-all, and at one set win apiece.

But Perlas rode the momentum they got from being down, 19-21, and seized the frame, 25-22, off a key 6-1 run capped by a quick Nunag hit off the Cignal overreception.

The HD Spikers only made matters worse for themselves as late back-to-back errors in the fourth frame hoisted Perlas up 6, 20-14.

Roces, Nunag, and Guino-o then took turns scoring all the way to match point, 24-20, before one last Cignal error doomed them for good.

Janine Marciano and Julia Ipac paced the loss with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

For the second time this season, Perlas will endure a back-to-back set as they next face the Petro Gazz Angels on Friday, July 30, 4pm.

Meanwhile, Cignal will have to wait for their next game in the reworked schedule as they try to save their playoff contention bid. – Rappler.com