MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The Cignal HD Spikers cruised to a comfortable three-set victory against BaliPure to march into the semifinals of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference.
In the first volleyball game played in front of fans since the onset of the pandemic, the HD Spikers displayed their class in a 25-14, 25-9, 25-14 triumph on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The still unbeaten Cignal HD will play the winner of the quarterfinals match-up between PetroGazz and F2 Logistics in the best-of-3 semifinals. The Water Defenders, for their part, have been relegated to the classification phase.
"Nagbubunga na lahat ng pinaghirapan namin," said Cignal HD coach Shaq delos Santos, whose team won just one game last year but has emerged as a contender this time around.
"Kumbaga, ano man 'yung naging puhunan, foundation namin before, may magandang result na nangyayari," he added.
Ces Molina had 12 points on 11 kills, while Roselyn Doria had 11 points, and Ria Meneses scored four of her nine points on kill blocks. The HD Spikers had a massive 40-17 advantage in terms of kills and a 9-2 edge on blocks, while serving six aces.
The Water Defenders kept it close in the opening set, with a Janine Marciano hit tying the frame at 9. They were down by just three points, 17-14, off a Gyra Barroga hit, but the HD Spikers ended the set with eight unanswered points to snatch the win.
In the second set, BaliPure trailed 8-6 after a Jhoana Maraguinot kill, but the HD Spikers won 17 of the next 20 rallies to take another comfortable victory.
With momentum firmly on their side, they cruised in the third set, with a Glaudine Troncoso hit wrapping up the match in just 69 minutes.
"We're blessed and siyempre proud sa isa't isa and sa buong team, dahil 'yung trust talaga namin sa isa't isa, makikita niyo na," said Molina of their performance.
No BaliPure player reached double-digits, with Marciano putting up five points. They scored more points off Cignal HD's errors (18) than they did from their own offense.
The Water Defenders have yet to win a match this conference, having gone 0-3 in Pool B.