MANILA, Philippines – They readied themselves for a shot at a team that has appeared in five of the last seven Premier Volleyball League finals and won them. However, it was Petro Gazz and Cignal who found themselves competing for the coveted crown in the Reinforced Conference, which has been nothing short of amazing.
However, the Angels and the HD Spikers hope to offer something fresh for the volley fans to enjoy, with their homegrown players keen to take center stage and their imports eager to underpin their respective teams’ championship campaigns.
At 5:30 p.m., Game 1 of the best-of-three series will begin. A title matchup that is anticipated to start a new league rivalry will take place at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with neither team having a clear advantage over the other in a battle of power, blocking, and gambits.
A rival team will help his wards make the most of their opportunities, he further assured.
With reference to the Creamline Cool Smashers’ grand slam attempt and the Chery Tiggo Crossovers’ spoiling of their finals drive, both on Tuesday, Ricafort said, “We’ll make sure that we make the most of these finals because binigay ng ganitong manner.”
According to the outcome of their match on Tuesday, where the Angels, led by Lindsey Vander Weide’s fierce 30-attack output, outspent the HD Spikers in spikes, 60 to 44, and dominated the net, 13 to 4, Petro Gazz does look to have a tiny advantage in strength and upfront.
But even in the biggest holes, Cignal has almost always managed to crawl out. Despite winning their first two semi-final matches, the HD Spikers were only able to avoid a straight-set loss by saving three match points against the Angels.
In the event of a three-way tie for first with Petro Gazz and Creamline, they did lose the match in four, but not after obtaining a superior point ratio.
A new champion will be declared the following week, although it won’t necessarily be a brand-new one since the Angels previously ruled this conference in 2019 when they defeated the Cool Smashers in sudden death, hence there has never been a triple-tie.
Another benefit for Petro Gazz should be that PVL breakthrough. But for the title hungry Cignal, there is only one direction to go after placing third in this year’s first two conferences.
The HD Spikers’ continuous ascent to the top of a conference full of twists and turns was highlighted by Tai Bierria’s ever-improving performance. “We just really have to go on working together to keep getting really better,” he remarked.
The native of New Orleans has embraced her job as a substitute, virtually often coming on late in the first set before stepping up in the second and taking over at the end.
The latest in Bierria’s increasing record of endgame exploits, her four-point outburst in set three helped Cignal come back from the brink, save a shutout loss to Petro Gazz, and keep the HD Spikers in the playoffs. Fans could only wonder what else she would deliver in the title playoff.
Along with Roselyn Doria, Chay Troncoso, and Angeli Araneta, Ces Molina and Rachel Anne Daquis are hoping to provide poise and firepower to the team. Riri Meneses is getting ready for a hard middle-court battle with MJ Phillips, and Gel Cayuna, the league’s top setter and top server, is getting ready to face off against Djanel Cheng.
As well as Myla Pablo, Grethcel Soltones, Aiza Pontillas, Remy Palma, Nicole Tiamzon, Jonah Sabete, Marianne Buitre, and Phillips, Vander Weide also boasts of a ferocious local following that is prepared to help him retain the title.
The favoured Cool Smashers were forced into a five-set match by o, who had eliminated Creamline from the title race with back-to-back defeats. This ended the Open Conference and Invitational champions’ hopes of a record season sweep in the league run by Sports Vision.