Cignal, Petro Gazz clash in opening game of PVL finals 

BEST IMPORT FRONT RUNNER LINDSEY VANDER WEIDE — PVL

Games Today(Smart Araneta Coliseum)2:30 p.m. — Creamline vs Chery Tiggo5:30 p.m. — Petro Gazz vs Cignal

CIGNAL and Petro Gazz will establish a new Premier Volleyball League (PVL) order as they contest the Reinforced Conference crown starting today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The HD Spikers and Angels edged the Creamline Cool Smashers via superior ranking points after the three wound up tied for first with 2-1 records and arranged a best-of-three title showdown.

Game Two is set on Tuesday at the PhilSports Arena while a deciding Game Three, if necessary, is slated next week at the same Pasig venue.

Whatever happens, there will be a new champion not named Creamline, which topped the Open and Invitational Conferences early this year but fell short this conference.

The once mighty Cool Smashers, whose reign of terror ended and whose historic Grand Slam bid was denied, tries to salvage some measure of pride as they shoot for third place against the Chery Tiggo Crossovers.

The finale is set at 5:30 while the battle for third is at 2:30 p.m.

Petro Gazz will be gunning for its first title since claiming its breakthrough PVL crown in the Reinforced Conference three years ago while Cignal eyes nothing less than its first crown in the league.

Best Import front runner Lindsey Vander Weide said her team goes into the series in high spirits after an emphatic 25-14, 25-21, 25-27, 25-19 win over Cignal in the semis Tuesday.

“It feels good to go to the finals with two big wins,” said the prolific Ms. Vander Weide, who blew up with a magnificent 30-point performance last time.

Ms. Vander Weide said her strong chemistry with setter Djanel Cheng could make a big difference in the series.

“We meshed really well and I think it will be important in the finals,” she said.

Cignal came into its Petro Gazz showdown like a spent team after giving it all in slaying Creamline, 23-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-18, in the previous game.

The HD Spikers hope to recover their strength and confidence if they want to have a chance at their first title in the league.

“We just need to continue to believe in ourselves and work harder,” said Cignal mentor Shaq delos Santos. — Joey Villar