By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Chery Tiggo recovered from a second-set stumble and outplayed Creamline, 25-18, 17-25, 25-16, 25-21, to force a winner-take-all match for the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference title Thursday night at the PVC Socio-Civic & Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Jaja Santiago powered the Crossovers anew with 25 points built on 20 attacks, three blocks and two aces to extend their finals showdown to a deciding Game 3.
Chery Tiggo came into the match with red eyes following a stinging 25-15, 25-21, 18-25, 19-25, 15-7 defeat in Game 1 Wednesday.
They encountered little trouble in taking the opening set but the Cool Smashers fought back in the next set to even up things.
But the Crossovers were not to be denied this time as they dominated the third with combination of solid defense and ferocious attack.
The Crossovers then pulled away from a 15-all tie to a matchpoint, 24-20, after back-to-back kills from Manabat and Shaya Adorador
Alyssa Valdez briefly retaliated for Creamline with her down-the-line spike, but Manabat answered back with her own attack that sealed Chery Tiggo’s win and lived for another day.
Santiago said they banked on their mental toughness, knowing that Creamline is a tough team to beat when matches go the distance.
Game 3 will be on Friday.
Earlier, the Petro Gazz Angels clinched the bronze medal after making quick work of the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21, in Game 2 of the battle for third place. Myla Pablo led Petro Gazz with 14 kills for 16 points.
“Worth it lahat ng sakripisyo and yung mga paghihirap ng mga players or as a team doon sa bubble training namin going here,” said Petro Gazz coach Arnold Laniog.
Caitlyn Viray topscored for Choco Mucho with eight kills for nine points sans starters Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino, Denden Lazaro-Revilla, and Maddie Madayag, who was injured in Game 1, while Ponggay Gaston, Regine Arocha, and Deanna Wong played limited minutes. (Carlo Anolin