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A group of female volleyball players celebrates their finals berth in PVL Open Conference, ousting Cignal.

Petro Gazz ousts Cignal, books finals berth in PVL Open Conference

The Petro Gazz Angels rode the momentum of their scintillating five-set win the previous night to take down the Cignal HD Spikers, 25-21, 28-26, 15-25, 25-21, to set up a title showdown with early finalist Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.

The Angels unleashed a strong finishing kick to clinch the opening set, pounced on Rachel Anne Daquis’ sidelining due to cramps late in the second then rallied from a third set defeat to win the virtual duel of spurts in the fourth and complete their surprise 2-1 victory over the hard-luck HD Spikers in their best-of-three semis series at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan on Monday night.

The four-set triumph came not long after Petro Gazz defeated Cignal in a classic showdown last Sunday, 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 26-24, 18-16. That victory forged the rubbermatch on Monday for the right to clash with the Cool Smashers in the finals. Game One starts on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The Cool Smashers swept the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in their side of the Final Four, extending their unbeaten run in the tournament they ruled in smashing fashion in 2018-19 before yielding it to Chery Tiggo in the league’s inaugural pro staging in Ilocos Norte last year.

Averting a sweep, the HD Spikers took the first three points in the fourth, but the Angels countered with a four-point binge and the latter came away with another four-hit run to break away from a tight 8-7 count in the set’s first changeover.

The Angels stayed in command at 17-13 and 23-18 and after the HD Spikers, reeling from the loss of their skipper, pulled within two at 21-23 on a block off Myla Pablo’s push, Soltones foiled the HD Spikers’ fightback with a power hit and Pablo closed out with an ace that landed short of reach of Jerrili Malabanan, triggering a celebration for the Angels, who had to beat the loaded F2 Logistics Cargo Movers to get to the semis against one of the league‘s two unbeaten squads.

It was a sorry setback for Cignal HD, which surprised the talent-laden field with a sweep of their group prelims and then besting BaliPure in the quarters to reach the semis following a last-place finish last year marred by a single win in nine matches.

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