LIPA CITY — Chery Tiggo survived a late flurry from Tuguegarao, 25-22, 20-25, 25-14, 25-23, to open its title bid in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League on Saturday at the Aquamarine Sports Complex.
Chery Tiggo in PNVH Champions League
Dindin Santiago-Manabat showed the way for the Crossovers to deny the upset ax of the new look Perlas Spikers, who threatened to force a decider with a 17-11 spread in the fourth set.
Manabat and Co., who were tagged as comeback queens during their title run in the Premier Volleyball League last August, fought their way back from the large deficit, turning tables with a 23-21 advantage.
However, a dropball from Perlas’ new setter Wendy Semana and a miscue from tied the set at 23 before middle blocker Maika Ortiz scored block to lift Chery Tiggo at matchpoint, 24-23, followed by an attack error from Jules Samonte.
Chery Tiggo joined opening day winners F2 Logistics and PetroGazz for the early lead of this single round robin tournament with the best record winning the title.
Manabat propelled the Crossovers’ attack with 17 points in their first game without her younger sister Jaja, who is currently serving as import for Ageo Medics in Japan V.League.
Mylene Paat delivered 11 points off eight spikes, two blocks and an ace and had five digs and as many as excellent receptions.
Arriane Layug, who is filling in the spot of injured Shaya Adorador, added seven points. Libero Buding Duremdes protected the floor with 18 excellent receptions and 14 digs, while new setter Chin Gual had 18 excellent sets.
“It was an exciting match but this time around we have to double time. It’s a short tournament so we have to push harder,” Chery Tiggo coach Aaron Velez said.
“Lahat talaga ngayon is really vying for that first-ever CL. Kaya hindi tayo pwedeng parang patumpik tumpik, kailangan sa umpisa pa lang mainit na agad. We have to work on our chemistry more.”
Nicole Tiamzon led the gallant stand of the Perlas Spikers with 21 points, while Mich Morente chipped in 19 attacks, 14 digs and 12 excellent receptions as their team dropped its first game, joining Baguio and California Precision Sports.
Tuguegarao gave up 36 errors in the match as their 57 attacks over Chery Tiggo’s 39 went for naught.