PVL: Tai Bierria carries Cignal past Army to bolster semis chances

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Tai Bierra leads Cignal in latest win. –PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Tai Bierria poured 17 points to bring back the winning ways of Cignal and eliminate the winless United Auctioneers Inc. (UAI)-Army,  25-23, 25-19, 25-19, in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Thursday at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

Missing the action for two weeks after their match against Choco Mucho was postponed last weekend due to Tropical Storm Paeng, the American import hardly missed a beat as she nailed 16 kills and had 12 digs to end the two-game skid of the HD Spikers and boost their semifinal chances with an improved 2-2 record.

Rachel Anne Daquis and Ces Molina also took turns to lift Cignal with 10 points each, while middle blocker Ria Meneses returned to action after missing their first three games due to a knee injury and joined hands with Rose Doria, scoring seven markers apiece.

Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos didn’t even need to use the league’s video challenge system, which launched this game day.

“We’re thankful for another win. We got another opportunity to get back in the race. We have a good chance again but we have to keep working hard every practice,” said Delos Santos, who refused to enter the press room as he was in a rush to go to University of the Philippines practice.

“We have to stay committed and give our all because each game is tough. We can’t relax. But I’m still proud of my players because of their commitment.”

The HD Spikers squandered a 23-21 advantage as the Lady Troopers tied it off Bierria’s attack error. But the Cignal import made up for her mistake with a kill before Daquis nailed the first set-clinching attack.

Molina put on the finishing touches in the second set and poured seven of her 10 points in the third, subbing in for starter Daquis, who had three blocks and six excellent receptions.

Setter Gel Cayuna also shone pacing the offense with 20 excellent sets outplaying Army’s Ivy Perez, who only had six of her team’s nine excellent sets as Cignal dominated in attacking, 48-34.

Cignal eyes its first win streak of the conference when it faces Petro Gazz on Thursday next week at the same venue.

Army bombed out of semis contention as it remained winless in five games. It will continue its season-ending tournament against Choco Mucho on Tuesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum

Laura Condotta carried Army with 13 points, while Jovelyn Gonzaga had 10 markers and seven digs.

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