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MANILA, Philippines — Mylene Paat and Jelena Cvijovic powered Chery Tiggo’s comeback as they escaped stubborn PLDT, 25-20, 18-25, 22-25, 25-16, 18-16, to end a two-game skid on Thursday before heading to the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference semifinals at Mall of Asia Arena.
Paat and Cvijovic led the Crossovers’ rally from a 1-2 match deficit as the pair sparked their dominant fourth set to force a decider, where they started with a 5-0 lead before the Montenegrin spiker gave her squad a 12-9 advantage.
However, PLDT import Elena Samoilenko and Dell Palomata joined hands to tie the set, 12-12, but Paat and EJ Laure restored the orders for Chery to reach match point, 14-12. Samoilenko scored back-to-back kills followed by Palomata’s attack to take the driver’s seat, 15-14.
Paat saved a point for the Crossovers before Samoilenko answered with a drop to keep the High Speed Hitters on top, 16-15. But PLDT committed three straight errors with Jules Samonte failing to cross the ball followed by two consecutive attack miscues from Palomata that shattered their semis hopes.
“Our trust in our players is always there. Because we always train how to recover in this kind of situation. I just told them to play without pressure, just play their game, and enjoy the moment so they can shrug off the pressure inside the court,” said Chery Tiggo coach Clarence Esteban in Filipino,
The league’s top local scorer Paat finished with 23 points and had 11 digs, while Cvijovic had 20 points off 17 attacks, two blocks, and an ace on top of 21 excellent receptions as Chery Tiggo ended the elimination round with a 6-2 record before heading to the semifinal round, where it plays another round robin.
Cza Carandang and EJ Laure delivered 10 and eight markers, respectively. Shaya Adorador and Roselle Baliton added six each after missing Dindin Santiago-Manabat for the second straight game due to health and safety protocols.
PLDT ended its season with 30 errors as it finished 3-5 in the conference with Samoilenko leading the way with 26 points to cap her first PVL stint.
Mika Reyes had 19 points off 12 kills, four aces, and three blocks, while Jovielyn Prado added 10 markers, 17 receptions, and 16 digs.
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