Cignal brandished its nerve of steel as it escaped with a thrilling five-set victory over Petron,18-25, 25-13, 25-19, 20-25, 15-12, to keep its flickering hopes alive.
Setter Djanel Cheng came through with a pair of crucial service aces down the stretch while Jeanette Panaga and Janine Navarro stood tall against their more seasoned foes to pluck their second win in four games.
The HD Spikers still need to dominate their remaining third round assignments against Foton and RC Cola-Army to capture one of the two remaining slots in the final round.
The Lady Troopers secured the first final round seat with a three-set win over the Toplander in the first game, 25-21, 25-17, 25-23.
“Medyo mahirap pero kakayanin namin na makapasok sa final round. That’s our goal right from the start,” said Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar, lauding his wards’ impressive performance against the two-time champions who beat them in four sets in the second round.
“What we did against Petron was due to our heart and mental toughness. Puso lang yan at tibay ng isip na kahit anong mangyari, makukuha namin ang panalo. I’m glad we won, at least we’ll have high morale as we enter our last two games.”
Panaga had a game-high 18 points built on eight of the team’s 12 excellent blocks while Navarro tallied 12 kills and two blocks for 16 points for the HD Spikers, who impressed the large weekday crowd with their deadly brew of solid defense and relentless attacks.
But the day belonged to Cheng who unloaded a pair of aces to seal the victory just when the Tri-Activ Spikers were threatening to steal the game away.
“Nothing is impossible,” Acaylar said. “Djanel simply refused to give up.”
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas nailed 18 points while Maica Morada had 10 markers for Petron, which is tipped to bounce back against RC Cola-Army in their blockbuster duel on Thursday.
Click for a photo set by Roman Prospero
March 17 at the FilOil Flying V Center
4 pm — RC Cola-Army vs Petron (Live on TV5, AksyonTV)
6 pm — Foton vs Cignal (Live on AksyonTV)
Tickets available at the gate. P100.