Chery Tiggo won’t be returning to a Premier Volleyball League (PVL) title series just yet, as its rejigged roster led by one of the most exciting collegiate stars in recent years will have to continue trusting the process and applying the lessons learned moving forward.
“For us, it’s part of the process. At least we were here in [the semifinals],” coach Kung Fu Reyes said after Chery Tiggo was swept by unbeaten powerhouse Creamline, 26-24, 25-21, 25-21, late Saturday night to bow out of the All-Filipino Conference. “We really tried to get a game going against Creamline, but it was the champion at its peak form.”
There is no shame for the Crossovers though, as they finished with an 8-3 (win-loss) elimination round record using a core strengthened by Eya Laure, the former University of Santo Tomas star shaping up as their face and cornerstone.
Chery Tiggo’s only losses came from eliminated Akari and its last two assignments, high-caliber teams of Choco Mucho and Creamline in the round robin, before taking consecutive straight sets losses to the Cool Smashers in the semis.
“We are not satisfied with the result, but [we are happy] with the way [the Crossovers] played—showing dedication and determination until the end,” Reyes said.
With the sweep, the Cool Smashers have the benefit of a break as they await the winner of Game 3 of the Choco Mucho and Cignal matchup in the other semifinal pairing, which will take place Tuesday at PhilSports Arena.
Playing for bronze
For now, the Crossovers, whose last Finals appearance was in ruling the Open Conference in 2021, can still salvage a podium finish by battling whoever folds in that knockout battle.
“When it comes to these all-out brawls, especially with the top two teams defeating us, save for Akari in the eliminations, what we went through was no joke,” Reyes said. “We lost against the teams that are also at the top, so that can’t be discredited.
“We tried our best to beat them, especially Creamline here in the semis, there is no shame in those losses,” he went on. “Like what one member of our coaching staff said, the term is not yet [returning to the Finals].”
Chery Tiggo was also faced with manpower problems after losing Imee Hernandez to a knee injury in the eliminations and Laure being under the weather in the Game 2 loss. Laure still started and only produced just five points while playing sparingly.