KINGWHALE Taipei battled back from a four-point deficit in the fifth set to pull off a 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13 against PLDT in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference semifinals on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Taiwanese side was on the back foot trailing 8-12 in the deciding set, but turned the tables on PLDT with a 7-1 finishing flurry to stay unbeaten in two games in its guest participation in the country's pioneering commercial volleyball league.
Kingwhale's win assured Creamline of a place in the finals on a 3-0 (win-loss) match as the hard-luck High Speed Hitters concluded the playoffs with a 2-2 record.
Chen Li-jun, who finished with 13 points and 14 receptions, presided over the Taiwanese side's game-clinching windup. She scored three in a run of six straight points that put KIngWhale at match point, 14-12.
Jovelyn Prado saved a match point for PLDT alive with a down the line kill but a service error by Mika Reyes handed KingWhale victory.
"In set five, my players are doing their best and they made themselves strong in their body and heart," said Taipei's head coach Teng Yen-min.
Brazilian reinforcement Beatriz Flavio de Carvalho tallied a double-double of 19 points and 19 digs while Qin-Yao Tsai was a spark off the bench with 10 points in a fitting follow-up to KingWhale's opening win over Army-Black Mamba.
Chieh Chen earned her first Player of the Game honors with a near-triple double of 11 points, 24 digs and eight receptions while skipper Liao Yi-jen continued her stellar playmaking with 36 excellent sets.
Five High Speed Hitters finished in double digits in scoring in a losing effort led by Dell Palomata, who was nearly unstoppable in middle as she converted seven of her 19 points in the fourth frame to force a decider.
Prado's triple double performance of 11 points, 20 digs and 22 receptions off the bench was put to waste as the High Speed Hitters committed 37 errors against KingWhale's 26 that ultimately decided the match.
Reyes tallied 18 points, Jules Samonte had 16 points while Chin Basas added 10.