Chery on top

Import Jelena Cvijovic came up with clutch plays to set the tone in the deciding fifth set as Chery Tiggo preserved its perfect record with a 23-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21, 15-6 victory over Akari in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City on Thursday.

The Montenegrin reinforcement scored four of Crossovers’ first six points to open an early gap to control the frame on their way to a perfect 3-0 win-loss record and the solo lead.

Chery Tiggo, which came back from a 1-2 match deficit, raced to a 6-1 advantage in the fifth frame. The Crossovers’ lead ballooned to 12-3 with Shaya Adorador blocking Erika Raagas.

Adorador, who scored five points off the bench, sealed the win with a hit.

“We really had a slow start. We just boosted their morale and told them that we can get the win as long as we execute what we’re supposed to do,” Chery Tiggo coach Clarence Esteban said.

Cvijovic, who only had a combined 18 points in her first two games, posted her personal tournament-best 16 points built on nine kills, four kill blocks and three aces for the Crossovers.

The Chery Tiggo import added 13 excellent receptions for an all-around performance.

“She is really exerting effort to bounce back,” Esteban said of his foreign recruit.

“She’s actually asking me what she can do to help the team. I just keep reminding her to push through with whatever she thinks would help the team.”

Mylene Paat led the Crossovers with 19 points including 17 off attacks while Czarina Carandang got 18 points.

EJ Laure, who fueled a run midway through the fourth set to build a seven-point cushion for Chery Tiggo, scored 14 points and had 12 digs.

Paat gave the Crossovers a 23-15 lead in the fourth frame before the Chargers saved six set points. Carandang scored on a quick attack to force the fifth set.

The HD Spikers threatened late in the opening set with Cignal tying the frame at 23 with three unanswered points before Dominican import Prisilla Rivera put things back to order with back-to-back back row attacks to close the set.

Cignal crawled out of a 14-17 hole in the second frame and broke out of an 18-18 deadlock with a 7-3 blitz for the equalizer.

Rivera scattered all but one of her 30 points on spikes while Janine Marciano’s triple-double of 24 points, 18 digs and 14 excellent receptions came to naught as Akari slid to a 1-2 card.

Krich Macaslang had 11 points in a lost effort.

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