Premier Volleyball League

Cignal stuns Creamline, zeroes in on PVL finals
Cignal stuns Creamline, zeroes in on PVL finals

STUNNER. Cignal's Angeli Araneta and Ria Meneses try to block the attack of Creamline's Jema Galanza.


Ria Meneses and the Cignal HD Spikers move within a win of a sweep of the semifinal round after upsetting the Grand Slam-seeking Creamline

MANILA, Philippines – The Cignal HD Spikers just took a step closer to a dream championship appearance.

The HD Spikers, who have yet to claim a Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference crown, boosted their bid for a title berth after upsetting the fancied Creamline Cool Smashers, 23-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-18, on Sunday, November 27, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With the stunning win, Cignal hiked their record to 2-0 in the round-robin semifinals while upending the Grand Slam-seeking Creamline in the race for the first finals slot.

Cignal import Tai Bierria came off the bench late in the opening frame and fired 21 points, matching her record output in leading the team past Chery Tiggo in the semis opener last Thursday.

Lightly regarded among the reinforcements for her youth and demeanor, the 25-year-old American continued to prove her worth as the Cignal campaign progresses, embracing her role as a bench player ready to step up at any given time.

She led her team in the last three sets and was in sync with the Cignal locals, both in offense and defense, while sneaking in a number of smart plays with her drop shots and power tips.

“Creamline is a great team, with so many fans. But for us to be able to [beat them], it’s great for our confidence. It showed in our character, our ability to keep getting better,” said Bierria.

Ria Meneses, who won the battle of middles with Creamline’s Pangs Panaga and Ced Domingo, had 11 points for Cignal.

Angeli Araneta likewise came through with a 10-point game as stalwarts Ces Molina (8 points), Roselyn Doria (7 points), and Rachel Anne Daquis (5 points) also delivered in the two-hour, eight-minute encounter.

“It’s our first time to win over Creamline in the semifinals, so this is a big opportunity for us to be better in our upcoming games,” said Cignal coach Shaq delos Santos in Filipino.

Alyssa Valdez blasted in 17 attacks for a 20-point output to pace Creamline. Import Yeliz Basa added 17 markers, while Jema Galanza and Panaga finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

In the other game, Petro Gazz bounced back by beating an import-less Chery Tiggo side, 25-15, 25-17, 25-13, to stay in the finals hunt with a 1-1 slate.

Myla Pablo fired 15 points, including 11 on attacks and 4 blocks, to power the Angels to the clutch as they rebounded from a straight-set loss to Creamline last Thursday.

The win tied them with the Cool Smashers at 1-1 heading to the last semis playdate on Tuesday, where Cignal aims to go all out for a sweep against Petro Gazz to avoid going through a tiebreaker, while Creamline tries to recalibrate against Chery Tiggo.

Glaring errors

Creamline unloaded 61 attack points against Cignal’s 49 but the HD Spikers had 12 blocks, 3 more than their rivals.

The HD Spikers also pounced on the Cool Smashers’ glaring 33 errors while yielding just 16 of their own.

It was actually a toss-up in the pivotal third as Cignal battled back from a wobbly start to force a tie at 12. 

They slugged it out through 11 more deadlocks marked by hard hits and blocking, but the HD Spikers displayed grace under pressure as Bierria scored on a power tip to force another tie at 26.

Meneses then shoved Cignal to set point on another strong tip before Bierria closed it out with an off-speed hit.

The HD Spikers rode on that big escape to dominate the fourth with Bierria, Araneta, and Doria before Meneses banged in a quick attack that made it 24-16. 

Creamline tried to hang on and scored back-to-back points but Cayuna set up Meneses again for a quick hit before standing still and raising her arms in victory. –

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