PLDT and Cignal booked the last two semifinals slots after defeating their respective foes on the final elimination day of the 2023 PVL Invitational Conference on Tuesday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The High Speed Hitters needed five sets to boot out the Chery Tiggo Crossovers as they pulled off a hard-fought 25-21, 16-25, 25-23, 25-27, 15-12 victory to move on to the next round and capped off the pool stage with a 3-1 card.
Mean Mendrez played a crucial role for PLDT, especially in the deciding fifth set where an attack from her broke an 11-all deadlock before back-to-back Dell Palomata points sent PLDT to the match point, 14-12.
Mendrez then rejected rookie Eya Laure to seal the deal for the High Speed Hitters.
The former University of the East standout finished with a team-high 16 points built on 13 attacks and three blocks while Palomata and Mich Morente chipped in 14 and 12 markers apiece.
PLDT’s win spoiled another breakout performance from Chery Tiggo’s team captain Mylene Paat, who churned out 29 points in the loss.
Earlier, Cignal weathered a third set comeback from Choco Mucho en route to a 25-15, 25-21, 25-21 sweep victory to claim the third semifinals spot for the local teams.
Jovelyn Gonzaga flashed her old form with an all-around performance of 13 points alongside eight digs and four receptions as they capped off their elimination round campaign with a 4-1 card.
Veterans Roselyn Doria and Ces Molina poured in 10 markers each.
Also making it as part of the semis cast are defending champion Creamline and F2 Logistics. Rounding out the playoffs contenders are guest teams Kurashiki Ablaze and Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh from Japan and Vietnam, respectively.
The semifinal round will be in a single round robin format with the top two teams advancing to the finals while the third and fourth seeds will slug it out in the battle for bronze.
—Bea Micaller/JMB, GMA Integrated News