Cignal import Tai Bierria continued to thrive on her new role with the HD Spikers.
The 25-year-old American outside hitter came off the bench for the fourth consecutive time, steering Cignal to a four-set upset of the grand slam-seeking Creamline in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference semifinals on Sunday evening.
Bierria once again delivered the goods for the HD Spikers with 21 points on 17 attacks, three kill blocks, and an ace in the 23-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-18 triumph over the Cool Smashers — the team’s first over the back-to-back champions since the elimination round of the Invitational Conference last July.
The win hiked Cignal’s record to 2-0 in the round robin semifinals — a victory away from making it into the finals.
The product of New Mexico University admitted that she wanted to be on the floor right from the get-go but insisted that she trusts head coach Shaq delos Santos’ decision. She also made it a point to remind the veteran coach that she has no qualms about the move and she accepts it without reservations.
“Me being a competitor you know I wanna be on the floor 24/7 but it’s been working, you know what I mean? So you kind of gotta put your pride aside and come in and do your job whenever,” said Bierria, who has now led Cignal to a four-game winning streak ever since she came off the bench.
“We’ve been winning so I tell coach Shaq that I trust you every single time he tells me that I’m not gomna be in the game and in the starting six. I feel like that it’s actually gonna help if I look at it that way like I could rest for the first set mostly and get to see the game in a light than just being in the game for the entire time,” she added.
Despite another impressive outing, Bierra still chose to deflect the credit to the rest of the HD Spikers, saying that her performance is only a product of the HD Spikers’ effort and activity inside the court.
“I don’t know, I just tried to go out there and do my thing. Having a team like the team that I have makes it easier to do my job, you know what I mean? When I mess up they pick me up. My performance really is an indication of the kind of team that we have and the connection that we all share,” Bierria said.
As for their big win over Creamline, Bierria said that despite heading into the match-up as the clear underdogs, the HD Spikers came in the game believing that every team — even the Cool Smashers — is beatable.
Still, despite the massive victory that put them an inch closer to their first-ever PVL finals appearance, Bierria said that there are still a lot of work to be done for the HD Spikers and they won’t rest their laurels yet until they finally reach their main goal.
Cignal takes on Petro Gazz on Tuesday, 2:30 PM at the Philsports arena.
“The same way we build over every single team, you know what I mean? I respect Creamline so much but at the same time, everybody is beatable so we went into the game knowing that we have a chance and we’re not just gonna cower before Creamline,” said the Georgia native.
“Big ups to them, big respect to them, they played a great game but yeah we have the same mentality after every single win. We’re just going to keep getting better and onto the next we have Petro Gazz next so we’re not gonna sit on these two wins.”