By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The Cignal HD Spikers overcame a lackluster start before dispatching the Quezon City Gerflor Defenders, 25-22, 25-11 and 25-10, in the PVL All-Filipino Conference at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City on Tuesday, December 5.
Negrense Genevieve Casugod came off the bench to fire nine points, while Frances Molina also had the same output as the HD Spikers secured the last semis seat.
Rookie Vanessa Gandler scored eight points, Jovelyn Gonzaga added seven markers, while Gel Cayuna tallied five points on top of 16 excellent sets that earned her the game’s top honors.
“Sakto lang [ang contentment],” Cayuna said after helping the team secure the coveted semis seat.
“But dapat pang magtrabaho, at dun [semis] kami pupukpok talaga,” she added.
The HD Spikers, coming off a 10-day break, trailed 14-16 early in the first set, but they regrouped and unloaded consecutive points to finish the set with a 25-22 victory.
As Cignal settled down in the second and third set, head coach Ceseal delos Santos was able to provide playing time for his bench players.
The HD Spikers finished with an 8-3 win-loss record, tying the Chery Tiggo Crossovers record, but the HD Spikers took the no. 3 spot in the rankings due to higher tiebreak points.
The no. 1 Creamline Cool Smashers will thus face no. 4 Chery Tiggo, while the Choco Mucho Flying Titans and Cignal tangle in a pair of best-of-three semis playoffs starting Thursday, December 7.
Likewise, Cignal’s victory dashed the semifinals hopes of the Petro Gazz Angels and the PLDT High Speed Hitters, both with 6-4 cards from fifth to sixth place.
Danika Gendrauli scored nine points, while Mary Grace Berte finished with eight points for the Defenders, which closed out their season-ending conference without a win in 11 matches./ASC, WDJ