Cignal inched closer to its first-ever Premier Volleyball League finals berth after upsetting Creamline in four sets, 23-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-18 in the 2022 Reinforced Conference semifinals, Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
American import came off the bench and delivered for the HD Spikers anew. He produced a game-high 21 points on 17 attacks, three kill blocks, and an ace alongside six excellent receptions.
The HD Spikers move to 2-0 in the semis.
Looking to finish off the Cool Smashers, Bierria hammered a kill to give Cignal a 20-12 advantage in the final stretch of the fourth set.
Alyssa Valdez and Jema Galanza tried to keep Creamline alive, eventually cutting the lead to six, 15-21, off back-to-back hits. But Bierria, Rose Doria, and Ria Meneses went on a 3-1 spurt to put the HD Spikers at match point.
Gel Cayuna committed a service error in the following play followed by a Jeanette Panaga block on Rachel Daquis which saved two match points for the Rebisco-backed squad. Unfortunately, it was not enough as Meneses scored the game-clinching quick to seal the win.
The last time that Cignal won against Creamline was when they broke the latter’s 10-game winning streak back via a four-set win in the elimination round of the Invitational Conference last July 21 at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.
“Sobrang happy kasi siyempre, kilala naman natin yung Creamline na talagang mahirap silang talunin. Kung hindi mo sila paghahandaan at hindi ka magpapa-kundisyon, talagang mahihirapan kang talunin sila. Kaya grabe yung respect namin sa kanila and even yung other teams na pumasok sa top four,” said Cignal head coach Shaq delos Santos.
“Sobrang thankful. Nakaka-proud yung buong team from coaches to players kasi ayun nga… I think first time namin na manalo against Creamline sa semifinals. So malaking opportunity sa amin na maging better pa kami sa susunod na game namin,” he added.
Ria Meneses and Angeli Araneta backstopped Bierria with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Ces Molina, who was not fielded in the fourth set, ended up with eight markers.
On the other hand, Valdez’s 20-point outing went for naught as the Cool Smashers slid to 1-1 in the semifinals, She also had 22 excellent digs in the contest.
Turkish import Yeliz Basa had 17 points on 15 attacks. Galanza and Panaga had 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Jia De Guzman tossed 22 excellent sets, while Kyla Atienza collected 11 digs and nine receptions.
Cignal looks to seal its spot in the finale on Tuesday, 2:30 PM against Petro Gazzat at the Philsports Arena. On the other hand, Creamline looks to salvage its campaign against Chery Tiggo at 5:30 PM.