BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE - Perlas finally found a way to shine after two botched attempts, battling back from a set down and then besting Cignal HD in the next three to hack out 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21 victory, Thursday at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center here.
The 2021 PVL Open Conference is now onto its second week, but this is only the Perlas Spikers' first appearance in the win column as they persevered through two separate COVID scares and then fell short against Choco Mucho and Cherry Tiggo to start the season.
Third time's apparently the charm for them as veteran Sue Roces stepped up big in the second and third sets, firing the biggest hits in the respective runs that allowed Perlas to break away from the just as determined HD Spikers. Flashing vintage form, she broke a 19-all count in the second with back-to-back running attacks then closed it out with another pair of her signature play to highlight their decisive 6-1 windup.
After setter Gel Cayuna set up Jeanette Villareal to shatter a 22-22 tally in the next frame, Roces again rose to the occasion, pumping in a pair of crosscourt hits to give Perlas a 2-1 set lead. The fourth frame was more or less all Perlas Spikers as their elder stateswoman wound up with 11 points, all from attacks.
The Spikers yielded six more blocks, 3-9, but outhit their rivals, 56-42, with Nicole Tiamzon banging away 13 points, which Cherry Nunag and Heather Guino-o matched. Cayuna also had nine markers to her name on top of her 24 excellent sets.
While Perlas snapped its skid to revive its semis hopes, Cignal's downturn stretched to three straight for a 1-5 slate. They now need to sweep their last three games and hope only three teams reach win no. 4 to force a playoff for the last semis seat.
Janine Marciano put in a 12-hit game and Norielle Ipac and Rosalyn Doria scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, but the HD Spikers failed to sustain their fine start.
Black Mamba Army, behind Royse Tubino's 24 hits, likewise bounced back from a two-game slide and stayed in the hunt after downing PLDT Home Fibr in four sets, 20-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-20.
It was the Lady Troopers' second win in five games and they still stand seventh in the standings. Nonetheless, they could use the victory to fuel a drive to attempt to at least force a playoff for the last Final Four seat.
The luckless Power Hitters, meantime, took their sixth loss in as many games, now officially ousted from contention.