The Chery Tiggo Crossovers defeated the Creamline Cool Smashers in four sets, 25-18, 17-25, 25-16, 25-21, in Game 2 of their 2021 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference Finals on Thursday at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Jaja Santiago reinvigorated the Crossovers with 25 points on 20 attacks, three blocks, and two aces to keep the team alive in the best-of-three finals.
Chery Tiggo headed into the match eager to extend the series, with Santiago and sister Dindin Santiago-Manabat working together to counter Creamline’s attacks.
After edging Creamline in the first set, where they fired 13 attacks and committed only six errors, Chery Tiggo had a slow tempo in the second set as Creamline evened the match at one set apiece.
The second-seeded Crossovers quickly adjusted in the third set after taking a 16-10 lead after a runner attack by Joy Dacoron with the championship on the line. Jaja Santiago’s block got them to set point, but Dindin Santiago-Manabat’s quick attack clinched the deal at 25-16.
After back-to-back kills by Manabat and Shaya Adorador in the fourth set, the Crossovers moved away from a 15-15 deadlock to a matchpoint, 24-20.
Alyssa Valdez reacted for Creamline with a down-the-line spike, but Manabat countered with her own attack, securing Chery Tiggo’s victory and allowing her team to live another day.
For the top-seeded Creamline, Valdez tallied 18 points while Jema Galanza and Tots Carlos poured 17 and 15, respectively. No other player managed to score more than four points.
With 42 excellent sets, playmaker Jia Morado was her usual amazing self, but many of those would need to be channeled to the middle for Pangs Panaga and Risa Sato to pose a threat if the Cool Smashers are to defend the reign they have held since 2018.
The PVL’s first-ever professional title will be decided in the season’s last match on Friday, August 13, 2021.