MANILA, Philippines— Mylene Paat solved his own problem in the final game to send Chery Tiggo into the semi-finals of the reinforced Premier League Volleyball Championship with a score of 22-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25 -18, 15 12 win over unbeaten United Auctioneers Inc.-Army on Thursday at Philsports Arena.
Paat, The league’s top local top scorer, hit 23 points, including a stunning strike that won her ticket to the semifinals for the Crossovers when she stopped bleeding after Royse Tubino helped Lady Troopers save three match points to shorten the score to two, 14-12.
Aside from Paat’s scoring ability, Chery Tiggo also relied on Jelena Cvijovic’s solid defense to push through a 0-2 start in the fifth set and create a 6-0 rush to take a 6-2 lead. when Czarina Carandang scored back- the block returned, followed by Shaya Adorador dropping to drag away with an 11-6 spread.
“We really had a slow start. We don’t know what happened to us in the first set but we tried to boost the morale of the players to keep fighting. At least we were able to make up for our flaws from the beginning of the game,” said Chery Tiggo coach Clarence Esteban in Filipino.
Cvijovic scored an excellent 19 points and 19 tackles, while Carandang had 15 points from 11 attacks, two saves and two aces to fuel the Crossovers’ fight from a 1-2 loss. and undefeated in five games.
“It was a tough match. The army really had a good defense and served well so we really had to put in a lot of effort. But I am really grateful to God and the saint we celebrate today in my country, today is a special day. I’m really happy it ended like this,” said the Montenegrin player, whose family is celebrating a special occasion upon returning home.
Carandang nailed well-timed hits in the fifth set, EJ Laure contributed 9 points and 12 digs while Roselle Baliton calculated a five-block high team for eight markers.
“I am happy that my teammates have inspired me with their collective efforts. The coach also told me in the last game that they need me, we need each other as a team until the end of this match,” Carandang said.
Despite their fifth straight win, Esteban warned Chery Tiggo to avoid another slow start against fellow undefeated team Cream sugar (4-0) in the upcoming showdown on November 5 at Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.
“We will both have a long time because of the holidays but we will not stop training and we will prepare the best possible strategy for Creamline. All the players of both teams have almost the same skills. It’s a game of momentum, if we can get some momentum early then we’ll start,” said Esteban.
Tubino took the top 24 in the game, while Canadian Laura Condotta scored 21 points, 16 digs and 12 excellent catches that only kept the Lady Troopers winless in four games.
Army also had offensive contributions from Jovelyn Gonzaga and Jeanette Villareal, who had 14 and 11 points respectively. But it has fallen on the verge of elimination, needing to win Cignal on November 3 at the FilOil EcoOil Center.
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