Army routs Chery Tiggo to bolster playoff bid in PVL

·2 min read

Army got back on track with a 25-20, 25-23, 25-22 win over Chery Tiggo on Tuesday as the Lady Troopers wrested solo fourth heading to the final week of the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference elims at the Filoil Ecooil Centre in San Juan.

Behind its veteran crew, Army uncorked a strong finishing kick to emerge on top of a see-saw first set battle, battled back from 21-23 down in the next, then imposed their will in the third to complete the 90-minute victory.

With a 3-2 slate, the Lady Troopers stayed behind joint second running PLDT and Creamline, toting identical 3-1 cards, with Cignal clinching the first seat in the next phase with a sweep of its four games.

Only Choco Mucho, despite its 1-3 mark, has the chance for the last semis berth but the Flying Titans must sweep their last two matches against the High-Speed Hitters and the Angels.

They must also hope that Army would drop its last game to Creamline, and Creamline or PLDT loss their last two assignments, to force a tie at 3-3. The last slot to be decided via the PVL points system.

The Lady Troopers took the first two sets on a pair of aces with MJ Balse-Pabayo capping their big windup in a tight opener marked by a number of lead changes and setter Ivy Perez delivering the other that capped their big stretch run fightback in the next frame.

They never gave the Crossovers a chance to recover, storming to 13-9 and 22-15 leads in the third then holding sway after the 2021 Open Conference champions, the first in the pro league era, pulled to within 22-24 on a Mae Layug kill that spiked a three-hit run aided by back-to-back Army miscues. But Joanne Bunag hammered in an off-the-block hit, dashing whatever hopes the Crossovers had to save a campaign hindered by injuries to their top stars.

Gonzaga produced the only double-digit performance with 15 points but Audrey Paran’s eight hits, Perez and Mary Anne Esguerra’s identical six points and Bunag and Jeanette Villareal’s similar five points proved enough to anchor the Troopers’ romp over the Crossovers.

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