BACARRA, Ilocos Norte — Maika Ortiz spelled the difference in Chery Tiggo’s statement victory over erstwhile-unbeaten Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference.
Initially listed as reserve the past two games, the 29-year-old middle blocker proved to be a revelation for the Crossovers when she finally got to play, flaunting her signature running attacks and tremendous blocking against the defending champions.
Stealing the spotlight
Ortiz provided five of the team’s 12 kill blocks and finished with 13 points in a game she treated as a championship as the Crossovers ended the Cool Smashers’ 25-game winning streak on Friday.
The University of Santo Tomas standout wanted to regain her confidence in her first full game back from a torn ACL two years ago in a performance that boosted the morale of her teammates after coming off a five-set loss to Sta. Lucia on Wednesday
“Kailangan ko lang ibalik yung kumpiyansa ko from previous games kasi namin, hindi na talaga ako nakalaro,” she said. “Ngayon, kailangan bumawi ulit ako para sa team namin kasi from loss, kailangan ma-motivate ko yung mga teammates ko na, 'Kaya natin ‘to, every game is a championship game.'”
Chery Tiggo captain Jaja Santiago was just so proud of her fellow middle blocker and partner.
“Sobrang proud na proud ako every block, every point niya talagang “Oy, partner ko yan!” said Santiago. “Nakaka-proud kasi from injury niya, dito sa pinakamahalagang laro namin, nag-perform siya at nagtiwala sa sarili niya na kaya niyang ibalik kung ano yung laro niya.”
Ortiz also felt blessed as the long wait is finally over for her after recovering from an ACL injury and a coming off year-long layoff during this of the pandemic.
“Thank you Lord nakabalik din! Kasi sobrang tagal ko talaga siya inintay na magkaroon ng liga. Kasi ready na ko last year, liga na lang talaga yung gusto kong mangyari,” she said.
Chery Tiggo improved to 4-2 at fourth place, but its last three games will be against Petro Gazz (4-1) on Sunday, Black Mamba-Army (2-3) on Wednesday, and unbeaten leader Choco Mucho (5-0) on Friday.
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