High-Flying HD Spikers and Ice-Cold Cool Smashers Aim to Secure PVL Championship Showdown
Cignal had just a day to celebrate as the HD Spikers return to the floor Saturday to gatecrash a blockbuster party reserved for glamour teams Creamline and Choco Mucho. And that’s not taking anything away from Chery Tiggo, which also has a chance to do the same but will have a really steep trek in doing so.
The HD Spikers, two nights after bouncing back from 0-2 down to cream the Flying Titans, try to finish off Choco Mucho in their side of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference semifinals and bundle out a team that looked unbeatable until the third set on Thursday. “I’m so proud of the players because of the effort that they gave,” Cignal coach Shaq delos Santos said in Filipino, minutes after an 18-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-10 Game 1 win over Choco Mucho. “They really willed themselves to this win. We will celebrate this victory and then go back to work after.” A victory by Cignal in the 4 p.m. contest at PhilSports Arena in Pasig will give it the first title series slot and write an unexpected ending to the Choco Mucho campaign that saw it win 10 straight games heading into this round.
“Our 10-game (winning) streak doesn’t count in this round,” Choco Mucho’s Dante Alinsunurin said, also in Filipino. “That record doesn’t matter. We have to find a way to bounce back from this (loss).” Creamline, meanwhile, found little problem in ripping the Crossovers in their series opener, with a 25-18, 27-25, 25-22 win giving the defending champion Cool Smashers all the confidence and momentum they need going into their 6 p.m. encounter.
But unlike Delos Santos, Creamline counterpart Sherwin Meneses made it sure that a celebration of whatever kind is reserved for later. Perhaps when a seventh championship is won. “This is not yet over,” Meneses said. “We still need to win another game to make the finals.” Creamline pounded out the straight sets win despite committing five more errors than Chery Tiggo’s 16, and this is one aspect of the game that Meneses would want to address. Alyssa Valdez showed vintage form and led a second set stand that had the Cool Smashers erasing two-set points that frustrated the Crossovers, who are drawing power from rookie Eya Laure.