Game Today at Filoil Flying V Centre, P200 at gate
7 p.m. – Cignal vs Petron
After posting an earthshaking win in their first encounter, Cignal tries to dethrone Petron in a sudden-death semifinal battle of the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference today at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Action fires off at 7 p.m. with the HD Spikers looking to complete a massive upset of the Blaze Spikers to punch a ticket to the best-of-three finals showdown of this prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Team Rebel Sports, SOGO, Eurotel, PCSO, Cocolife, UCPB Gen, Mueller, Senoh, Asics, Bizooku and One Sport.
F2 Logistics had already booked its finals ticket following a masterful 25-19, 25-23, 17-25, 25-19 conquest of Foton in the other semifinal battle late Tuesday at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.
That makes this do-or-die match doubly interesting as Petron suddenly finds itself fighting for dear life after ruling this mid-season conference for the past couple of years and winning all but one game in the double-round preliminaries.
Veterans Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga spearheaded the ambush delivering clutch hits in the deciding set to power the HD Spikers to a 25-20, 10-25, 16-25, 27-25, 15-11 win in their first semifinal encounter of this tourney that also has ESPN5 and Kapatid TV5 as broadcast partners.
Cignal coach Edgar Barroga lauded his wards, saying that the pressure is on Petron as it tries to keep its dream of winning a three-peat alive.
“We came here with nothing to lose. The pressure is now on Petron,” said Barroga following their thrilling encounter that lasted until the wee hours of Tuesday.
“We’re going to do our best in this fight of our lives.”
But Petron won’t simply buckle down to pressure.
Head coach Shaq Delos Santos said losing to Cignal in a high-stake battle didn’t come as a surprise as it is known to be a quality team with a merry mix of veterans like Gonzaga and Daquis, rising stars like Mylene Paat and Janine Navarro with a savvy Filipino-American playmaker Alohi Robins-Hardy.
He said instead of crying over the lost opportunity they will just troop back to the drawing board and ploy how they can play like real champions.
“We knew the quality of this Cignal team right from the start of the conference. They have a tall and very deep lineup” said Delos Santos who is looking to forge a rematch with the Cargo Movers in the finals starting this Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We have to accept that loss and move on. It’s not yet over for us. We can still bounce back and finish the job.”
“We have another chance and we have to be ready for the challenge since this will be the biggest test for our team.”
Veteran troika of Rhea Dimaculangan, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Frances Molina are again tipped to carry the load with Mika Reyes and Remy Palma manning the middle and Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons lighting up the scoreboard.