By Gabriel Jason Pascual

Riri Meneses wills the Cignal HD Spikers past Army Black Mamba in a gripping 3-2 set victory, as Tots Carlos spearheads the Creamline Cool Smashers to complete a 0-2 comeback against the PLDT High Speed Hitters, improving their records to 1-1 and 2-0, respectively, in the PVL Invitational semis at the Ynares Center, Antipolo, Saturday.

Photo Courtesy of PVL

With the quest of finally barging on the win column, the HD Spikers survived a back-and-forth battle, 26-24, 26-28, 25-18, 18-25, 16-14, which ultimately dropped the Army Black Mamba to 0-3.

Riri Meneses proved to be the HD Spikers' saving grace as she erupted with a game-high 23 points, coming alive after being lackluster all conference long.

Rachel Anne Daquis also had a hand in the victory as she was pivotal in the deciding set, scoring 6 of her 15 points in the clutch.

Made possible by their blocking and defense prowess, the HD Spikers were poised to get the easy W as they took a commanding 16-6 lead in the opening set.

However, the Army Black Mamba managed to put the HD Spikers in a pickle, extending the deciding set when they managed to tie the game at 14-all.

The end was written for the Lady Troopers when Joanne Bunag connected on a spike that travelled to the restricted area, completing the HD Spikers’ 5th set closeout.


Meanwhile, the Creamline Cool Smashers put on a defensive clinic as they completed a 3-2 comeback, 22-25, 25-27, 25-21, 25-19, 15-12, shutting down any attempt of a PLDT closeout.

Powered by her high speed spikes and towering blocks, Tots Carlos led the way for the Cool Smashers as she put up 22 points.

With Carlos playing an all-around role, defense was the story in the endgame as Creamline held PLDT to 31 total points in the last 2 sets of the match.

Carlos was also present in the clutch, sealing the victory with a towering block alongside Pangs Panaga, 15-12, 3-2.

The Cool Smashers seemed to have put their guard down as they failed to weather a Dell Palomata-led run in the first two sets, 0-2.

It was lightning in a bottle when Risa Sato brought Creamline back to life with receptions and blocks, which started the flow for the Cool Smashers' offense and defense and eventually carried on to the win.

Edited by Quian Vencel Galut