MANILA -- (UPDATED) The Cignal HD Spikers showed strong composure at the end of every set to eke out a straight-sets victory over the Petro Gazz Angels, 25-21, 25-23, 25-23, in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinal series of Premier Volleyball League (PVL) 2022 Friday.
The HD Spikers, who remain undefeated in six outings, are now a win away from clinching a championship berth in the PVL at The Arena in San Juan.
Cignal established a 16-11 cushion in the third frame but Nicole Tiamzon sparked a Petro Gazz run, unleashing a series of attacks including the score-tying off-the-block spike, at 19-all.
An error and a Ces Molina crosscourt attack gave Cignal a short breather, 21-19, but the Angels scored four straight points to make it 23-21 and appeared to extend the match to a fourth set.
But just like in the first two sets, Cignal showed maturity in the crucial minutes as Ria Meneses and Rachel Ann Daquis hammered two hits to knot the score at 23.
Meneses then denied Grethcel Soltones before Angeli Araneta punctuated the match through a push, 25-23.
Meneses, the reigning Best Middle Blocker of PVL, spearheaded the HD Spikers with 14 points, including three blocks, while Daquis, Molina, and Roselyn Doria had 33 combined points.
In the second set, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas almost single-handedly carried the scoring load for the Angels, including a down-the-line spike for an 18-14 advantage.
The HD Spikers bounced back after a timeout as Meneses countered Pontillas’ attacks, 18-20. Down by three, Cignal dropped a 6-1 run to steal the set from Petro Gazz – thanks to the mighty presence of Doria in the middle.
Pontillas led the Angels with 14 points, 13 of which came from attacks, while Soltones added 11 points.
The Angels will try to extend the semis series on Sunday as they square-off anew in Game 2.
Meanwhile, the Army Black Mamba closed their PVL campaign with a victory after sweeping the winless Balipure Purest Water Defenders, 25-22, 25-21, 27-25.
Army leaned on Royse Tubino, who finished with game-high 24 points, while Joanne Bunag and Ivy Perez contributed 12 points apiece.
The Army ended the season as the eighth placer while Balipure finished at the bottom of the standings.