PLDT staved off elimination with a 25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21 victory over Cignal in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
PLDT's second successive win improved its chances of securing one of two remaining semifinal berths with a 3-4 record. At the same time it ended Cignal's two-game win streak, dropping the HD Spikers to 3-3.
Russian import Elena Samoilenko powered PLDT with 27 points built on 23 attacks and four blocks to go along with 11 digs. Middle blockers Dell Palomata and Mika Reyes chipped in 15 and 11 markers, each, while Toni Basas added 10.
The High Speed Hitters had a chance to close the match via sweep as they led 18-13 in the third set, but the High Speed Hitters' faulty reception enabled Cignal to go on an 8-0 run behind Ces Molina and Tai Bierria, 22-25.
"Today was really a good game in the first set and second set. We had good concentration. But the third set, we were a little bit loose. Maybe not good receive, not good serve," Samoilenko said.
The HD Spikers threatened to forced a decider with a hot 8-13 start to the fourth canto, but the 6-foot-4 Samoilenko led a 5-0 PLDT run capped by a Mika Reyes block that forced a 14-all deadlock.
PLDT never looked back and finished the match with a successful foot fault challenge on Rachel Daquis, 25-21, to keep its Final Four bid alive.
"Our goal is siyempre to win that match, as much as possible. Sabi ko sa kanila, don't stop kasi not yet finished eh. Kasi kung magi-stop ka nung two sets pa lang, possible na bumaliktad 'yung sitwasyon. So ayun, lagi kong nire-remind sa kanila, keep fighting," PLDT head coach George Pascua said.
The balanced offense of the HD Spikers saw American reinforcement Bierria score 16 points, Ces Molina 15, Roselyn Doria 14 points and Riri Meneses 12 points.