Games Today (Sunday)
3 p.m. – Petro Gazz vs Army
6 p.m. – Bali Pure vs Choco Mucho
(Chery Tiggo’s Jaja Santiago (left) and playmaker Jasmine Nabor draw up a play against the Power Hitters, Photo courtesy of PVL)
ILOCOS NORTE – Chery Tiggo spiked the Premier Volleyball League’s first foray a pro body with a great deal of explosiveness, ramming over a stunned PLDT side for a 25-20, 25-17, 25-6 victory in the Open Conference at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center here in Bacarra yesterday.
Banking on Dindin Manabat, Jaja Santiago, Arianne Layug and Mylene Paat’s power hits, Joy Dacoron’s kill blocks and the grit and spunk of the rest, the Crossovers also pounced on Power Hitters’ series of unforced errors on their way to posting their 69-minute romp in the long-awaited launch of the pro league held under strict health and safety measures.
The organizing Sports Vision actually set a three-match offering in the inaugurals but the Perlas-Cignal HD game was postponed early in the day for precautionary measures.
This after Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Manotoc had requested players of both teams to undergo another RT-PCR testing.
“This is just a precautionary measure set by the Ilocos Norte LGU,” said league commissioner Tony Boy Liao. “We will thus be postponing the Perlas-Cignal game to a later date.”
Games among 10 teams will be played daily except Saturdays with Petro Gazz clashing with Black Mamba Army at 3 p.m. today and Bali Pure facing off with Choco Mucho at 6 p.m.
The Crossovers, rich in championship experience with two victories as the then Foton Tornadoes in Superliga, broke away from a tight match majority of the opening frame with a strong finishing kick.
But they found the Power Hitters an easy target in the next two sets, which they dominated with firepower, cohesion and superb net defense as they huddled on each point scored and every point given.
“We talked about playing relaxed so we can focused on the game,” said Manabat.
True enough, the Aaron Velez-mentored Crossovers made it a virtual workout after the first set with Dacoron anchoring their pull-away in the second frame with back-to-back blocks on their way to a 19-12 bulge before Layug scored on two straight hits and PLDT yielded another point on an unforced error.
Chery Tiggo also had its share of miscues and mishits but the Crossovers overcame them with firm resolve with Manabat blasting away hits after hits from various angles en route to a 12-hit performance, next to Dacoron’s 13-point output.
Isa Molde led PLDT with nine hits while Joy Soyud backed her up with seven. But the rest failed to step up with Jorelle Singh and Kath Villegas groping for three hits apiece and the Power Hitters ended up with 20 miscues, five more than the winning side.
From a 10-5 count in the third set, the Crossovers ran off 13 straight points as the Power Hitters scrambled for hits that never saw their targets before Villegas broke the scoring slump on a quick play.
But by then, Chery Tiggo was already busy preparing for the exit with Dacoron providing the clinchers, this time on a running attack and a quick hit that ended the longest rally posted in the lopsided match.
Santiago ended up with 11 hits while Layug finished with nine and Paat added five as the Crossovers dominated the net with 38 power attacks against their rivals’ 26.
Chery Tiggo also produced nine blocks against none by PLDT and delivered eight aces, six more than the Power Hitters, who, however, produced 18 excellent set, including 16 from Rhea Dimaculangan. Chery Tiggo’s setter Jasmine Nabor finished with 16.