Cignal outhustles Army in five-set thriller in PVL semis

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Cignal outhustles Army in five-set thriller in PVL semis
Ria Meneses

MANILA, Philippines — The Cignal HD Spikers barged into the win column of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference semifinals after a hard fought win over the Army Black Mamba, 26-24, 26-28, 25-18, 18-25, 16-14, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Saturday.

The HD Spikers found themselves in peril in the end game when Army saved three match points to extend Set 5, 14-all.

But a Ces Molina kill and hit out by Joanne Bunag helped Cignal break a three-game slide.

It was a nip-and-tuck affair between both teams who were looking for their first win in the semis. Cignal improves to 1-1 while Army drops to 0-3 — with the record, the Lady Troopers are now out of contention for the final.

But Army remains in the running for a podium finish as they can still make it to the Battle For Bronze match with a third or fourth place finish in the 6-team standings in the round.

The HD Spikers actually looked poised for a dominant win in the early goings of the match as they held a 16-6 lead in the opening salvo.

But no-quit Army was able to slowly chip away at the lead. 

Black Mamba strung together four straight points while Cignal was at set point to extend the frame, 24-all.

Bunag, however, had a mishit that sailed out to send the HD Spikers to set point anew. Ria Meneses then fired an ace to seal the deal.

In the second set, it was the same story as Army fought back from a deficit late. A Jovelyn Gonzaga kill tied the set at 24-all.

While errors from the service line almost stymied Black Mamba's efforts, back-to-back points from Nene Bautista enabled Army to tie the match at one set apiece.

In the third and fourth salvos, the teams traded lopsided wins to send the match into the winner-take-all fifth set.

Meneses paced Cignal with 23 points, 21 coming off of attacks to go along with a pair of blocks.

The HD Spikers thus gain momentum ahead of their clash with guest team KingWhale Taipei on Monday, August 8.



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