Jov Gonzaga leads Cignal to victory despite failed semis bid

Cignal HD Spikers PVL

Cignal HD Spikers.–PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Cignal, which was eliminated from the PVL All-Filipino Conference semifinal race even before it stepped on the court, dealt a big blow to PLDT’s Final Four bid with a come-from-behind 24-26, 26-24, 25-17, 28-26 victory on Saturday at Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.

With Chery Tiggo beating Akari earlier in the day, the HD Spikers were booted out of Final Four contention—but it didn’t matter to Jov Gonzaga, who poured in 16 points built on 11 attacks, three blocks and two aces.

“Pumunta ko sa game na ‘to nang inspired and ware talaga ako na for the past games I felt short talaga and I need to step up kasi yung tiwala ng coaching staff hindi talaga nawala sa akin,” Gonzaga said.

SCHEDULE: PVL All-Filipino Conference 2024

“Nabitin kami sa semis pero gusto kong bigyan ng credit yung effort ng coaching staff samin and pag-intindi

Ces Molina, the late-game hero for Cignal, scattered 15 points, 12 coming from attacks, as Vanie Gandler ended up with 12 points to help the HD Spikers bounce back from two consecutive losses and improve to a 6-4 standing.

“We’re very happy na nakabalik kami ulit and masarap kasi na manalo ulit so na-feel namin ulit yun,” Molina said after starting in the first three sets but coming off the bench in the crucial part of the fourth frame.

PLDT still has a chance to make the playoffs but only if it sweeps defending champion Creamline in its final game coupled with a Chery Tiggo loss to also-ran Galeries Tower on Thursday.

The Angels, the Cool Smashers and the Flying Titans have already booked their tickets to the semifinals.

“Sobrang happy kasi yung feeling ulit na manalo or bigay ulit samin yung panalo na ‘to,” coach Shaq delos Santos said. “We know na iniisip ng iba wala siyang bearing but sa amin kasi yung kumpiyansa ulit namin and maibalik din ulit namin yung sarili namin na kung papaano talaga kami maglaro.”

READ: PVL: Petro Gazz boosts semis bid with win over Cignal

“Sa performance ng team, sobrang na-miss ko yung larong yun, as in so sobrang thankful ako sa kanila kasi trinabaho pa rin nila kahit alam ng buong team na yung standing namin I think pang-sixth? But yung kailangan makapag-start na ulit kami ngang maganda papunta sa next conference,” he added.

Savi Davison’s 29-point performance, all from attacks, was put to waste as PLDT dropped its second consecutive game and sank to a 7-3 standing.

Dell Palomata added 15 points from 12 attacks and three blocks while Majoy Baron finished with 11 points, three coming from blocks, for PLDT who despite winning more points in the attacking department was outplayed by Cignal with its net defense and the High Speed Hitters committing 11 more errors than their foes at 33.

Kath Arado spearheaded the floor defense of PLDT with 22 excellent digs and 16 excellent receptions while Davison laced her offense with eight excellent digs and 18 excellent receptions.

There was no shortage of firepower from either side of the net as both teams poured everything they had in each set.

Determined to bring back their old selves and find a solution to their recurring problem in the end games, the HD Spikers played with their hearts on their sleeves in the fourth set to prove to themselves that they still have the fire inside them.

With neither side being able to pull away at 22-all, Palomata jousted the ball to give the lead to PLDT but Molina, who came in late after experiencing cramps, hammered a kill through the block to tie the game once again.

Davison saw an opening down the line but Chay Troncoso did not allow the High Speed Hitters to build momentum and scored back-to-back hits.

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The duo of veterans Gonzaga and Molina bailed out Cignal down the wire as Gonzaga registered a block for the lead and Molina poured all her strength to a kill which met the hands of PLDT but no one was there for the rebound as the HD Spikers took the match point.