The Cignal HD Spikers have reached the end game.
In a match that follow the script of its prequel, the Petron Blaze Spikers clinched their seventh-straight PSL Finals appearance by defeating their semifinal antagonists in four sets. They will face the winner of the F2-PLDT series. Meanwhile, Cignal is relegated to the bronze medal match against the loser between the Cargo Movers and the Power Hitters.
HD Spikers survive Petron’s chase in set one
Both teams did not give an inch early in the first set. But Coach Edgar Barroga’s squad stretched a 16-15 edge to a 24-20 advantage. Stephanie Niemer’s heads-up serving allowed the Blaze Spikers to pull to within one, 24-23. However, Anastasiya Artemeva ended the set for Cignal at 25-23 with a cross-court attempt from Zone 2.
Petron bounces back in the second set
Niemer just imposed her will during the latter part of the set two. She connected on three straight kill blocks against Artemeva to turn a 20-17 lead to a 23-17 margin. The Petron import ended Cignal’s hopes by adding two consecutive kills to end the frame at 25-17.
Blaze Spikers on full throttle in the third canto
Coach Shaq Delos Santos’ troops ignited an 8-2 run from an 8-8 deadlock and never looked back. Niemer’s back-to-back aces stretched Petron’s lead to 18-10 and it grew to its largest at 21-11. Ces Molina’s attack that was not cleared by Cignal libero Jheck Dionela brought the Blaze Spikers to set point but Artemeva took one back. Niemer’s spike off Denden Lazaro’s bump set ended set three for the defending Grand Prix champions, 25-17.
The title defense continues
Another episode of the Bell and Niemer Show was televised in the fourth and deciding set. Team captain Bell delivered the attacks early in the set while Niemer supported with her strong service game. Their efforts helped establish a 13-5 rout that Cignal never recovered from. Niemer’s 34th marker brought the Blaze Spikers to match point at 24-18.
Cignal was not yet done as they scored three straight points to half the lead. However, Niemer capped the HD Spikers’ mini run to give Petron its 17th straight win in the conference, 25-21.