The Chery Tiggo Crossovers sustained their blistering start in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference with a three-set demolition of Cignal, 25-16, 25-13, 25-19, on Monday (July 19) at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Behind the offensive firepower of Jaja Santiago and Arianne Layug, the Crossovers cruised to their second win to gain an early solo lead in the standings.
Santiago, who suited up in the vaunted Japan V. League in the last two years, flaunted her lethal form as she pummeled 11 attacks, three aces and a block to finish with 15 points. Layug, for her part, delivered a similar stat line as the 6-foot-5 middle blocker, finishing with 15 points off 11 kills, three service bombs and a block.
Chery Tiggo outperformed the HD Spikers in every skills department, even putting up a massive differential in attacks (42-24) and service aces (11-2).
Still, as dominant as they were on the court, head coach Aaron Velez believes that the Crossovers remain a work in progress.
"We still have to work on a lot of things," Velez said. "We played quite sluggish but still I'm happy that the players were able to execute what they're expected to execute."
Cignal, on the other hand, only had one player in double figures.
Janine Marciano put up a team-high 12 points, to go along with nine digs, for the HD Spikers, as Rachel Daquis was limited to six points in the loss.
MJ Phillips and the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors cracked into the win column of the 2021 PVL Open Conference after defeating PLDT in straight sets, 25-18, 25-19, 25-21.
Phillips collected half of her team's 10 blocks to finish with a game-high 14 points as the Lady Realtors bounced back from a loss to defending champion Creamline on opening day.
In the decisive third set, Phillips, alongside Dell Palomata and Jonah Sabete, nailed the crucial hits that buoyed Sta. Lucia to a 19-11 cushion.
Refusing to back down without a fight, the Power Hitters staged a comeback to knock to within one at 21-22, but that proved to be their last hurrah as Phillips and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas slammed the door shut in the homestretch to seal the deal.
"Actually lahat maayos 'yung game. 'Yung buong team maayos naman 'yung nilaro pati 'yung mga nasa labas nag trabaho rin sila...Kaya ayun happy naman sa nilaro nila," Sta. Lucia head coach Eddieson Orcullo said. "
(Translation: Actually everyone played well. The whole team performed to the best of their abilities, even the ones off the bench...That is the reason why I'm happy with the way they played.)
Palomata contributed 12 points anchored on nine attacks, two blocks and an ace, while Mika Reyes bounced back from a three-point outing against Creamline with 11 points in the win. Jonah Sabete, for her part, flaunted her all-around wares with nine points, 19 digs and 10 receptions.
On the other hand, the Power Hitters remained winless in two matches.
Isa Molde led all PLDT scorers with 11 points while Eli Soyud and Jorelle Singh managed nine points each in the loss.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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