PVL: Tai Bierria, Cignal down Chery Tiggo for share of semis lead

Tai Bierria Cignal PVL semis
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PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Tai Bierria came off the bench to finish with 21 points in three sets as Cignal turned back Chery Tiggo, 28-26, 25–17, 25-23, to gain a share of the lead in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference semifinals on Thursday at Philsports Arena.

The American import was fielded late in the opening set and brought the HD Spikers at set point twice before getting the 1-0 lead from Jasmine Nabor’s net fault.

Bierria dominated in the last two sets as she conspired with the locals to erase a 15-14 deficit in the second set, unleashing an 11-2 run to take a commanding 2-0 advantage.

Cignal also fought back from a 16-12 disadvantage in the third with Angeli Araneta scoring back-to-back hits from a kill and an ace for a 23-22 lead.

Mylene Paat tied the set but setter Angel Cayuna executed a 1-2 play to put the HD Spikers at match point, 24-23, before the former’s attack attempt was too long that completed Cignal’s sweep 

Bierria was efficient in spiking, hitting 19-of-32 and nailing two blocks.  Araneta also played a big factor with 10 points. Cayuna dished out 18 excellent sets while Rachel Anne Daquis chipped in nine points. Ria Meneses and Rose Doria added eight markers.

Libero Jheck Dionela was everywhere with 16 digs and 11 receptions as Cignal joined Creamline, which swept defending champion Petro Gazz earlier, before facing each other on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“It was unexpected for us to win in straight sets, knowing Chery they are the number two team,” said Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos in Filipino after getting back on the team that beat them in the eliminations. “We had a chance to create a good game plan by viewing the games of Chery to see what adjustments we should make. I’m thankful that my players executed well and we got the win.”

Paat, who was averaging 20.0 points in the eliminations as the top local scorer, was held to 11 points on 10-of-38 clip, while import Jelena Cvijovic added 10 points, 10 receptions, and nine digs.

Chery Tiggo dropped to 0-1, tied with the defending champion Petro Gazz. Both clash in a do-or-die game on Sunday with the winner staying in finals contention.

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