In a face-off against a team that hadn’t dropped a set in four starts, Chery Tiggo didn’t just secure one or two set victories, but rather three.
The Crossovers eked out a 25-15, 27-25, 18-25, 25-23 victory over the Petro Gazz Angels in a key Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino elimination match at the Philsports Arena in Pasig on Saturday evening.
Not only did the Crossovers halt the Angels’ winning streak, but they also tied with their victims and the PLDT High-Speed Hitters at second place, both at 4-1. The race to the semifinals was heating up among the league’s top teams, three weeks into the single-round eliminations, featuring a record 12-team cast.
Chery Tiggo’s victory also propelled Creamline to the top position with a 4-0 record.
“Actually pinaghandaan talaga ng team yung laro ng Petro Gazz. Then, nakitaan din namin nila Coach Kungfu (Reyes) ng enjoyment yung mga bata,” said Chery Tiggo assistant coach Brian Esquibel.
“Kasi parang tinrabaho talaga nila kasi yung second set very crucial eh kasi habang nageenjoy sila, nagagawa nila nang free will yung gusto nilang gawin sa loob,” he added.
After a strong opening set victory, the Crossovers trailed for most of the second set, finding themselves at a 22-24 deficit after Djanel Cheng executed a 1-2 play that brought the Angels within one point of equalizing the score.
However, Eya Laure stepped up, scoring with a block before blocking Aiza Maizo-Pontillas to send the game into a deuce. Grethcel Soltones put Petro Gazz ahead with a block on Shaya Adorador, but the younger Laure once again played the spoiler, scoring with a block, and Adorador hit a down-the-line shot, giving Chery Tiggo a 26-25 lead. Laure then sealed the deal with a powerful ace, securing a 2-0 lead for the Crossovers over the Angels.
Similar to the second set, Petro Gazz took control early in the third set but managed to withstand an 8-2 rally from the Crossovers, reducing their lead to just three, 20-17, with a 5-1 finish to extend the game.
“Yung enjoyment talaga sa paglalaro, yun yung nagdadala sa kanila para ma-push pa pataas yung team,” added Esquibel.
Eya Laure was the top scorer for Chery Tiggo with 21 points, including 15 attacks, four aces, and two blocks, along with 12 excellent digs, in two hours and three minutes of play. Adorador contributed 14 points, while Cess Robles and Pauline Gaston added 10 points each.
Nabor delivered 18 excellent sets, alongside five important points, while Jennifer Nierva and Buding Duremdes chipped in with eight excellent digs and seven excellent receptions, respectively, for the Crossovers.
Chery Tiggo will face Nxled on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at the Philsports Arena.
Soltones and Maizo-Pontillas led the Angels with 14 points each, while Ranya Musa and Jonah Sabete contributed 10 markers each in the team’s first loss of the season.
Meanwhile, Petro Gazz will look to bounce back against defending champion Creamline later that day at 6:00 p.m.