Ces Molina rises for a kill for Cignal. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Ces Molina rises for a kill for Cignal. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Petro Gazz and Cignal carved out easy wins to creep closer to semifinals appearances on a night Chery Tiggo got its youth-laden roster to work properly on the way to a five-set triumph that had the Crossovers winning for the first time in the PVL (Premier Volleyball League) Invitational Conference at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

The Angels were erratic in the first two sets but still went on to win convincingly, 25-21, 31-29, 25-17, over Farm Fresh, while the HD Spikers got the goods from Ces Molina, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Roselyn Doria in a 25-10, 25-16, 25-22 thumping of Foton as both rose to 2-1 in Pool B.

And while the Angels and the HD Spikers had a relatively easy day, Chery Tiggo needed to dig deep and brandish the youth brigade that the Crossovers went after in the off-season with Eya Laure, Imee Hernandez and Ces Robles winning as pros for the first time.

The trio was big in a 25-18, 22-25, 25-19, 19-25, 15-7 nipping off Akari as Chery Tiggo, after taking a straight sets drubbing at the hands of powerhouse Creamline, rose to 1-1 in Pool A.

Laure drilled in three straight attacks early in the fifth for a 4-1 lead that the Chargers never came close to overhauling.

Match point

Hernandez accounted for six points, while Robles came off the bench in the fourth set to finish with four big points, three of them coming in the fifth. The last of the former National University ace’s points was a swipe off a block that gave Chery Tiggo match point at 14-7.

Petro Gazz is in for a tough fight in just two days when it slugs it out with F2 Logistics, while Cignal will try to keep the Foxies winless on the same day.

“I’m happy with how my players performed today [although] in the first two sets, we committed 21 errors, which was maximized by Farm Fresh,” said Petro Gazz coach Oliver Almadro. “I’m happy we were able to minimize it in the third.

“Consistency matters. If you will be consistent, you can bring this momentum toward the next game.”

Veterans Grethcel Soltones and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas kept the Angels afloat despite struggling play in the first two sets, with Soltones ending up with 16 points built on 15 attacks and an ace to go with nine digs, while Pontillas delivered 15 points.

“I know that I still have a lot to improve. My teammates also know that. We struggled in the first two sets, especially in the second set where we committed a lot of errors,” said Soltones in Filipino. “Coach reminded us that they are young but aggressive.”

Coming off a 10-day break from their four-set loss to F2 Logistics last July 1, the HD Spikers, meanwhile, relied on setter Gel Cayuna’s brilliant distribution with Ces Molina and Gonzaga dealing the damage to the winless Tornadoes in their 72-minute match.

Cayuna, the conference’s top performing setter so far, dished out 22 excellent sets and fired two aces to finish with three points.

Molina continued to lead Cignal in scoring with a game-high 16 points off 15 attacks and one block on top of 15 digs, while Gonzaga had 14 points and 10 digs.

“We’re thankful because we had a long preparation from the break. We really prepared for this game because all our matches are crucial. We have to win every game,” said Cayuna in Filipino. INQ

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