MANILA (UPDATED) - The Cignal HD Spikers showed their composure in securing a four-set triumph against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, in one of the marquee showdowns of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference.
The HD Spikers weathered an injury to ace hitter Ces Molina to nab a 25-14, 25-21, 19-25, 25-18 triumph on Sunday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
Cignal HD improved to 2-0 to take the lead in Pool A, while handing the Cargo Movers their first loss of two wins to open their maiden PVL campaign.
"Talagang tinapangan lang po namin, kahit na nakita natin kanina na may na-sprain po," said Cignal HD setter Gel Cayuna, who earned Player of the Match honors after tallying seven points and 18 excellent sets.
Molina had 13 points before exiting in the fourth set due to a right ankle sprain. Skipper Rachel Anne Daquis also had 13 points on 11 kills and two blocks, while Ria Meneses had 12 points.
The HD Spikers had 49 kills to 44 for the Cargo Movers, as well as a 5-2 lead in blocks. Cignal HD also scored nine points off their serve while giving up just one ace to F2 Logistics.
After winning the opening set comfortably, the HD Spikers had to hold on in the second set as the Cargo Movers rallied late, fuelled by the superb floor defense of veteran libero Dawn Macandili. Clutch hits by Meneses and Molina allowed Cignal HD to secure a two-set advantage.
The HD Spikers appeared headed for a straight sets victory after surging to a 14-8 lead in Set 3, with Cayuna firing back-to-back aces to help her team build a cushion.
But the Cargo Movers came alive after the second technical timeout, with Kianna Dy finding her rhythm on offense before Tin Tiamzon stepped up late to finish off the HD Spikers. Tiamzon scored four of F2 Logistics' last five points, including the crosscourt hit that forced a fourth frame.
Disaster struck for Cignal HD when Molina had to be helped off the court after a bad landing, with the HD Spikers clinging to a 9-7 lead.
The HD Spikers showed that they had plenty of firepower even without Molina, however. Daquis came through with key hits, while Jerrili Malabanan -- who came off the bench to replace Molina -- also contributed.
"'Yung ginagawa kasi nung first six ay ginagawa din ng second six. So 'pag palit po, naging kumpleto lang din. Tapang lang talaga, kapit," said Cayuna.
Tiamzon finished with 15 points, while Dy had 11 points, all on attacks, for F2 Logistics.