By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Chery Tiggo destroyed Creamline’s Grand Slam bid by dragging the title favorite to five sets before losing steam in a bizarre ending to the semis round of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The Cool Smashers did prevail, 25-16, 20-25, 14-25, 25-11, 15-9, to forge a three-way-tie for first with Cignal and Petro Gazz with similar 2-1 records.
Earlier, the Angels recovered from a third-set stumble to turn back Cignal side, 25-14, 25-21, 25-27, 25-19,
But to the disappointment of their loyal fans, the Cool Smashers ended up with lower set ratio than the HD Spikers and the Angels.
So that was it – the end of their Grand Slam aspirations.
Cignal and Petro Gazz kick off their gold medal duel Thursday at 5:30 p.m. while Creamline, a five-time champion, and Chery Tiggo clash for the bronze starting at 2:30 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Despite dropping the second set, the Cool Smashers still had a chance to win it in four but the Crossovers’ net defense proved too tough for them to hurdle as the latter broke the game wide open on a stirring 12-2 run for an 18-11 bulge in the third.
Mylene Paat then took over in offense with Cza Carandang, Shaya Adorador and Roselle Baliton and setter Alina Bicar stepping up with their quick hits as the Crossovers went unassailably ahead at 23-13, frustrating the Cool Smashers, who never missed a PVL finals since 2017.
Adorador then scored on a push off Jia de Guzman to all but quash Creamline’s dream with Alyssa Valdez ironically sealing her team’s fate with an attack that sailed long.
The Angels drew strength from import Lindsey Vander Weide particularly in the fourth set to keep themselves afloat for one of the championship berths.
They finished the round-robin semifinals tied with the HD Spikers at 2-1 as they wait for the results of the match between Creamline and Chery Tiggo, who are playing at presstime, to know their fate.
Vander Weide poured all her 30 points on attacks for Petro Gazz, who squandered three match points in the third set before picking themselves up in the fourth frame.
With Cignal cutting its deficit to 21-19 in the third, Vander Weide launched an assault by scoring two of the last four points to give Petro Gazz the crucial victory.
Vander Weide credited her chemistry with her teammates, particularly with setter Djangel Cheng.