Chery Tiggo kept its championship hopes alive after taking down Creamline, 25-18, 17-25, 25-16, 25-21, in Game Two of the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference Finals at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center on Thursday (August 12).
The fearsome Santiago sisters came through with spirited performances as the Crossovers spoiled Creamline's plans and evened the best-of-three series count at 1-1.
"Thank you, Lord. We were guided, God is with us, the players were able to play as a team, work as a team, they gave encouraging words and we were able to boost each other's morale," said Chery Tiggo head coach Aaron Velez.
Jaja Santiago carried the scoring cudgels with a game-high 25 points built on 20 attacks, three blocks and two service aces while Dindin Santiago-Manabat poured out an all-around effort of 18 points and 11 digs.
Jasmine Nabor backstopped the towering siblings on the playmaking department with 22 excellent sets while taking care of the deliveries of Buding Duremdes, who patrolled the floor with 16 excellent digs and receptions apiece.
Shaya Adorador made her presence felt as well with nine points and 12 receptions while Joy Dacoron chimed in an eight-point output in the much-needed victory.
"I'm just so grateful for the players' commitment. Whatever adjustments we were doing, they were up for it. I'm just really thankful that the players gave their all and I hope that we are going to continue this," Velez added.
The match saw a 16-all stalemate in the fourth set as both teams refused to rest on their laurels. However, Santiago strapped Chery Tiggo behind her back and created a 20-17 separation from the Cool Smashers.
Creamline managed to whittle away the deficit down to two at 22-20 before Santiago-Manabat restored order and pushed the slim lead back to three, setting up Adorador's differential hit that put the Crossovers at match point.
Alyssa Valdez tried to keep the fire burning for the Cool Smashers but Santiago-Manabat was quick to douse it with a clutch hit to seal the deal.
Valdez paced the losing side with 18 points while Jema Galanza had 17 markers and 17 receptions that went for naught.
Tots Carlos, who breached the 20-point mark in the previous outings, finished with 15 points as the Cool Smashers could also not prevent seeing Jia Morado's production of 42 excellent sets go down the drain.
A champion will be crowned on Friday as the title series swings to an all-or-nothing Game Three.
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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