The Cignal HD Spikers advanced to the 2019 PSL All-Filipino Conference finals after a stunning five-set victory, 30-28, 25-21, 17-25, 23-25, 15-8, over the top-seeded Petron Blaze Spikers in Game 2 of the semifinals Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The fifth-ranked Cignal unseated the back-to-back All-Filipino queens and arranged a finals battle with the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.
The HD Spikers reached the biggest stage for the first time since they last won the trophy in the 2017 Invitationals. This also marks the end of the F2 Logistics-Petron finals streak that lasted for six straight conferences.
Jovelyn Gonzaga took over in the clutch and finished with 17 points built on 15 attacks and two blocks, on top of 21 digs. Rachel Daquis was also instrumental as she topped with 22 points and 12 receptions.
Cignal started the fifth set with three unanswered points but Petron immediately responded with a 4-0 run. Gonzaga led the HD Spikers' 9-1 counter-attack, aided by the Blaze Spikers' own errors, for a huge 12-5 lead.
Bernadeth Pons cut Petron's deficit to five, which prompted Cignal to call for time. Ranya Musa resumed the HD Spikers' beatdown by scoring back-to-back points. Chloe Cortez sneaked an attack for the Blaze Spikers before Alohi Robins-Hardy secured the win for Cignal with a drop ball.
"I'm so thankful to the Lord who has control over everything. I'm also thankful to everyone who trusted me. My patience in waiting (to recover from my injury) was worth it," said an emotional Gonzaga post-match.
The HD Spikers relied on their superb blocking to survive the extended opening set. After an exchange of points from a 24-all deuce, Musa sealed it off by rejecting Sisi Rondina's attempt and firing a service ace.
Cignal HD Spikers advance to finals
The Cignal HD Spikers advanced to the PSL All-Filipino Conference finals after a stunning five-set victory over the top-seeded Petron Blaze Spikers in Game 2 of the semifinals.
It was Petron's turn to play catch up in the next period as Cignal continued its earlier momentum. Gonzaga brought her team to set point before Roselyn Doria closed it out with a quick hit for a 2-0 advantage in the game.
With their backs against the wall, the Blaze Spikers displayed championship composure in Set 3. Rondina's back-to-back hits capped off a late 6-0 run that made it 23-15. The HD Spikers salvaged a pair of points before Rondina finished off with another kill.
Rondina continued her onslaught for Petron in the fourth set. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Ces Molina also came up with huge plays in the last few rallies to force a decider.
Rondina and Molina combined for 39 points for the Blaze Spikers, who missed the finals after landing in the top two, including four championships, for eight consecutive conferences.