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Crossovers stop Angels’ run, clinch semis playoff

Ilocos Norte – Exuding confidence coming off a big victory the last time out, Chery Tiggo took control of Petro Gazz in the first two sets then rallied in the next to essay a 25-18, 25-20, 25-22 triumph and assure itself of at least a playoff for a semifinal berth in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference here yesterday.

Jaja Santiago proves unstoppable with her quick hits, presiding another big finish for the Chery Tiggo Crossovers against the Petro Gazz Angels, led by Ria Meneses and Chie Saet.
The Crossovers came out on top in a third set duel dominated by the Angels majority of the way until the former overcame a 15-17 deficit and tied the count at 20 on a Maika Ortiz blast, shattered it on Mylene Paat’s through-the-block hit and clinched it by taking four of the last six points.

The victory, their fifth against two losses, came two days after Jaja Santiago and company stopped Creamline in four and it steered the team to third place behind unbeaten Choco Mucho (5-0) and Creamline (5-1) heading to the last seven playdates of the single round elims of the country’s first pro volley league at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra.

It also snapped Petro Gazz’s three-game run as the Angels slipped to fourth at 4-2, enabling at least three teams to stay in the hunt for the last Final Four seat in the league organized by Sports Vision.

“We have some challenges along the way but we were still able to work on them,” said Chery Tiggo coach Aaron Velez, whose wards will take on Black Mamba Army on Wednesday before closing out their elims campaign against Choco Mucho on Sunday. “But first of all, we give glory to God and I’m just glad for the ladies that they were able to deliver.”

They did as Santiago scored on a dump after Paat shoved the Crossovers on top in the third then delivered the last two points on quick hits that ended the one-hour, 24-minute encounter.

Santiago finished with 20 points, including 16 attacks and three blocks, while Dindin Manabat scored 12 hits in another sustained top performance. Paat added nine markers and Ortiz had seven points with Shaya Adorador and Jasmine Nabor chipping in five points apiece for the Crossovers, who produced 45 attack points, nine more than the Angels.

Ria Meneses scored 11 points while Myla Pablo and Ces Molina put in nine hits apiece and Gretchel Soltones struggled with eight markers for Petro Gazz.

The Angels appeared to have recovered after dropping the first two sets, wresting a 6-2 lead in the third and staying in control at 8-6 and 17-15. They still kept it tight despite yielding the lead, cashing on the Crossovers’ miscue that closed the gap at 21-22.

But Remy Palma blew a game-tying serve that sailed long and Santiago finished the Angels with her signature play fed by ace setter Nabor.

Meanwhile, Choco Mucho seeks to nail the first Final Four berth as it faces a beleaguered Black Mamba Army side at 1 p.m. today while Creamline tries to recover lost ground after a stunning loss to Chery Tiggo as it takes on lowly Cignal HD at 6 p.m.

Left as the lone unbeaten squad in the 10-team roster following the Cool Smashers’ four-set defeat to the Crossovers, the Flying Titans go all out for a sixth straight win against the Lady Troopers and the first spot in the post-elims play.

But expect Army to provide a stiff challenge as the Lady Troopers, in joint sixth with the BaliPure Water Defenders at 2-3, are hard-pressed to pound out a victory and possibly a sweep of their last four games to gain a shot at the semis.

The Cool Smashers, on the other hand, are expected to vent their ire on the HD Spikers and likewise formalize their semis entry stalled by the Crossovers last Friday.

Games are telecast live on One Sports (Free to Air), and One Sports+ (Pay TV) with both channels available for linear streaming on Cignal Play and on gigafest.smart with replays on www.pvl.ph.

Topics: Chery Tiggo , Petro Gazz , Maika Ortiz , Premier Volleyball League Open Conference
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