Manila, Philippines – Cignal moved closer to another Premier Volleyball League (PVL) bronze medal after venting his wrath against Chery Tiggo, 25-19, 21-25, 25-15, 25-20, in Game 1 of their best-of-three battle for third place in the second All-Philippine Conference on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Licking her wounds after the semi-final series collapse to debutant finalists Choco Mucho two days ago, Vanie Gandler stepped up to show the way for the HD Spikers with a game-high 21 points, moving closer to the PVL's fourth bronze. team in the last seven tournaments.
“This is sport. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and we just have to accept that and move on. Yesterday coach Shaq (Delos Santos) got it right. It was a little difficult, but I think today what we put in our heads is that the fight is not over and that getting the bronze medal is still a great achievement. So that’s our main focus right now,” Gandler said after the game.
“I really want to fight for my team. Because they helped me a lot and I want to help them get another medal. It was heavy for us that Rachel (Daquis) wasn't with us, but we still felt her support and today I just really wanted to fight for them because I know how hard we work and how much we want this”, he added. .
Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos praised his charges for continuing on despite the heartbreaking result of their semi-final clash against Choco Mucho, who won in Game 1 but failed to close out the series.
“To be honest, training yesterday had a sad atmosphere. Thankfully, going into this game we are all happy. We have to value the bronze medal and we have to fight until the end,” Delos Santos said in Filipino.
“The semi-finals had a huge impact on us and we learned our lesson. It's the same scenario after winning Game 1, but we can't give up the chance to win bronze in Game 2. Even if it's a bronze medal, we still work hard for it and we will be proud to have it.”
Jovelyn Gonzaga also led the HD Spikers with 15 points including three blocks and had 17 digs and 12 outstanding receptions. Ces Molina added 13 points, 14 digs and 14 excellent receptions, while setter Gel Cayuna distributed 21 excellent sets in addition to two points.
Gandler gave credit to his teammates for leaving everything on the floor despite losing the final again.
“I'm very happy, of course, with the team's performance. Given that we didn't have much time to rest, we are very tired, but today was really more of a test of character and heart, so we all just opened our hearts. We hope the same will happen on Saturday,” she said.
Cignal looks to secure bronze in Game 2 on Saturday as Chery Tiggo absorbs his fifth consecutive defeat.
Pauline Gaston powered the Crossovers with 14 points, including three blocks. Eya Laure had 13 points and 10 digs. Mylene Paat scored 13 points. EJ Laure had 12 points, while libero Jennifer Nierva protected the court with 22 excellent receptions and 16 digs.