MANILA, Philippines — Ces Molina scored 17 points as Cignal swept through sister team PLDT, 25-22, 25-15, 25-21, to kick off their semifinal on a high note in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) on Thursday at Philsports Arena.
Molina, who was one of the tournament’s top five scorers, maintained her fine form, netting 16 kills to give the HD Spikers an improved 1-1 record in the semi-final round robin ahead of their game on Saturday against the Creamline Cool Smashers. Saturday at 4 p.m.
After convincingly winning the first two sets, Molina broke a 20-20 tie in the third followed by a clutch block from Rose Doria and another kill from the latter for a 23-20 lead.
Doria had another block, denying Mika Reyes’ attack to reach match point, 24-20, but Molina made an attacking error. Cignal completed the win in straight sets after Rhea Dimaculangan had a crucial clean foul.
“It’s a good opportunity for us as our wins continue to build our confidence. We showed a great team effort and we didn’t let it get us down,” Molina said in Filipino. “We are going to keep working because we still have a lot of misses as the coach said. We have to polish it and redouble our efforts in training for our next games.
The HD Spikers picked up their fourth consecutive win, but suffered a four-set loss to fellow semi-finalists F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in the group stage.
Jovelyn Gonzaga was also instrumental with 12 points in addition to 10 excellent receptions and six digs. Doria finished with 10 points including three blocks, while setter Gel Cayuna provided 15 excellent sets and scored four points off three aces.
Cignal’s coach Shaq Delos Santos was unconvinced of their straight-set win as he wants his wards to play better against Creamline and the two foreign teams, Japanese team Kurashiki Ablaze and Vietnamese Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh.
“During the whole game, we made a lot of mistakes. Luckily we were able to win in three sets,” said Delos Santos in the Filipino.
PLDT fell close to missing out on the league game after dropping to a 0-2 record, including a straight-set loss to Creamline in the group stage, as only the top two teams with the better record will advance .
None of the High Speed Hitters scored in double figures with Fiola Ceballos leading with eight points, while Royse Tubino, Mean Mendrez and Mich Morente had seven scorers apiece.
PLDT looks to bounce back against F2 Logistics also on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
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