PLDT snatches last PVL semis spot, escapes Chery Tiggo in five grueling sets

What a win for PLDT! (PVL Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The PLDT High-Speed hitters capped off their Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference elimination round with a momentum-boosting marathon victory over the Chery Tiggo Pro Crossovers after edging them in five thrilling sets, 25-21, 16-25, 25-23, 25-27, 15-12, last July 18, 2023, held at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

It was fireworks. One of the best matches in the ongoing PVL Invitational Conference so far.

After almost four hours of intense volleyball action, the High-Speed Hitters emerged as the winners and became the last team to clinch a semifinal seat alongside the Creamline Cool Smashers, F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, and the Cignal HD Spikers.

PLDT started to gain a comfortable edge when they managed to break the 11-all deadlock courtesy of timely hits from Mean Mendrez and Dell Palomata.

The duo scored two consecutive markers to help PLDT take a 13-11 lead but Imee Hernandez of Chery Tiggo broke their offensive streak to put her squad in a favorable position for a comeback scenario.

However, Palomata came to the rescue for the High-Speed hitters after scoring a quick 1-2 spike backstopped by another Mendrez conversion to end the five-set marathon in style.

Mendrez stole the limelight and top-scored the High-Speed Hitters with 16 points built from 13 successful attacks alongside three huge blocks.

Her clutch partner, Palomata, added 14 big points with most of them coming in the crucial fourth and fifth sets.

It was a back-and-forth affair in the first four sets after both squads traded set points which forced a deciding fifth set.

Just when the HD Spikers thought they could bring their full momentum swing from a stolen fourth-set win, PLDT then responded with big-time hits that sucked the life out of Cignal.

“Siguro test of character yung laging nireremind sa players. Though galing na kami doon sa pangit na talo, sabi namin ang mindset lang today is ‘wag na bigyan ng pressure kung sino mananalo, yun makakapasok. Basta normal game,” said PLDT’s head coach Rald Ricafort.

On the other hand, Chery Tiggo was led by veteran outside hitter Mylene Paat who erupted for 29 points but was not enough to help her team barge into the semifinals.