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Daquis, Gonzaga rally Cignal past Petron to force rubber match


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Rachel Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga buoyed the Cignal HD Spikers over the Petron Blaze Spikers, 25-20, 10-25, 16-25, 27-25, 15-11, in Game One of the 2019 PSL All Filipino Conference semifinals at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex, Tuesday evening.

“Well, I should say it’s really, praise God! Kasi talagang pinag-pray namin,” said Cignal head coach Edgar Barroga. “Ayun happy kami it’s like a championship, actually.”

Cradling a precarious two-point edge, 8-10, Alohi Robins-Hardy delivered consecutive hits to create crucial separation for Cignal. Though Mika Reyes momentarily stopped the bleeding, Gonzaga pierced through Petron’s wall to restore order for her team before Daquis put up the finishing blows.

Cignal skipper Daquis fired 21 points — built on 14 attacks, five blocks and two aces — to lead her team in scoring.

Complimenting her was her longtime partner, Gonzaga. The Cignal stalwart poured in 15 markers — off 14 attacks — laced with 23 excellent digs to post a double-double performance.

Robins-Hardy was also instrumental. The do-it-all playmaker tossed 26 excellent sets on top of eight markers. Mylene Paat supplied nine points while Roselyn Doria and Ranya Musa chipped eight markers each.

Janine Navarro added seven markers while Jheck Dionela protected the floor with 23 excellent digs and 19 excellent receptions.

While the HD Spikers controlled the tempo in the waning moments of the cardiac affair, it was the Blaze Spikers who had the upper hand in the previous frames.

Tied at eight in the fourth set, the Blaze Spikers relied on their quick combination plays and a slew of running attacks to fuel a searing rally that put them ahead by five in the second technical timeout.

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However, the HD Spikers mustered a run of their own. With Daquis and Gonzaga behind the wheels, Cignal displayed its steady service game and persistent two-way arsenal that knotted a 15-21 gap to a 24-all lock.

In a seesaw deuce, Daquis took matters into her own hands, nailing the crucial touches that forged a decisive fifth chapter.

“Nakita mo naman fourth set halos bumigay na yung mga players pero ‘yung turn around talagang naging pabor sa amin tapos andoon na ‘yung momentum,” Barroga added.

Cignal only had 56 attacks compared to Petron’s 71, but the HD Spikers made up for it in the blocking and service department. They collected 14 rejections and eight aces to the Blaze Spikers’ eight and six, respectively.

Aiza Maizo-Pontillas finished as the game’s top scorer with 22 points. She had 19 attacks and three kill blocks that went down the drain.

Sisi Rondina hammered down all of her 20 points from the attacking department. Meanwhile, Bernadeth Pons tallied a double-double of her own, netting 17 points — spiked by two aces — and 21 excellent digs.

Reyes supplemented 12 markers, which included three blocks and three aces, while Rhea Dimaculangan fanned out 30 excellent sets. Denden Lazaro patrolled on defense with 25 excellent digs and 14 excellent receptions.

Game Two will be on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

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