MANILA, Philippines — Eya Laure drilled the game-winning ace to complete Chery Tiggo’s come-from-behind 17-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-22, 16-14 victory over Cignal and extend their winning streak to five games in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) second All-Filipino Conference on Tuesday at Philsports Arena.
After the Crossovers blew a 13-11 lead as Ces Molina put the HD Spikers on the verge of victory, 14-13, Laure came to the rescue and forced a deuce before Cza Carandang’s go-ahead block on Molina.
With her team’s winning run and semifinal chances on the line, the Chery Tiggo rookie bet on herself at the service line.
Her serve landed on Cignal’s floor, ending the two-hour and 13-minute match, keeping Chery Tiggo in solo second place with a 7-1 record behind unbeaten leader Creamline (7-0).
“I stopped and reminded myself that I won’t lose anything and I just have to send my serve in. Coach KungFu is always there on my side to remind me without looking at him,” Laure said in Filipino as she finished with 26 points built on 21 kills, three blocks, and two aces to go with 11 digs.
“I won’t be able to score 26 points alone. I did it with the effort of my teammates and coaches.”
Cess Robles also anchored the Crossovers’ comeback as she delivered 18 points including the finishing touches in the fourth to force a decider. Mylene Paat and Carandang had 11 points each, as setter Jasmine Nabor made 21 excellent sets on top of four points.
Chery Tiggo deputy coach KungFu Reyes, who called the shots again due to Aaron Velez’s prior commitment as team manager, lauded the team effort of every Crossover for pulling off the comeback.
“We’re imparting the never say (die) attitude since our past games. Until the score reaches 25, it’s not yet over. It was everybody’s ball game, whoever blinks an eye will regret the loss. It’s just that we did the right thing in the end,” said Reyes in Filipino. “Luckily, I have these two warriors [Laure and Robles] who are always ready to fight. Not just these two, we have the whole team. It was all hard work with a bit of luck.”
After ending Cignal’s five-game winning streak, Laure and the Crossovers brace for a challenging last three games against F2 Logistics, Choco Mucho, and unbeaten Creamline, where they need to win at least two games to secure a semis berth.
“Ang dami kasi naming kakainin pang bigas sa pro league. Kumbaga ngayon, observe lang kami nang observe kung ano yung maganda naming makukuha, babaunin namin at dadalhin namin hanggang sa mga susunod pa naming mga laro pero yung mga pangit na nagawa namin, move on na lang. Kumbaga, normal naman magkamali, ang hindi normal yung matakot ka magkamali,” Laure said.
Cignal dropped to a 6-3 record in solo fourth despite Vanie Gandler’s 20-point effort. Cess Molina had 14 points. Jovelyn Gonzaga contributed 11 points and 11 digs. Middle blockers Ria Meneses and Rose Doria added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Gel Cayuna had 24 excellent sets and scored 10 including three aces.