The Cocolife Asset Managers advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 Chooks-to-Go PSL Grand Prix after sweeping the Cignal HD Spikers, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20, in their quarterfinal matchup on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Newcomer Cocolife, who just debuted in the PSL this season, secured their first Final Four appearance in the league. They finished fifth in the previous two conferences.
American reinforcement Tai Manu-Olevao took charge with 19 kills and two blocks for 21 points. Taylor Milton added 14 points.
“We don’t want to stop. We didn’t want this to be the end of our season so we came together as a team,” Manu-Olevao said. “Cignal is a very good team. They have all the tools to beat us and we can’t be comfortable. We just kept that in mind and we just played our game.”
The Asset Managers maintained their composure throughout the game. They finished each period strong to complete their straight-set victory over the fourth-seeded team.
Cignal tried to save their campaign and extend the contest as they established a five-point lead, 19-14, in the third set. But the Asset Managers rallied back and managed to eliminate the HD Spikers with an 11-1 blitz.
With the score tied at 20-all, Cignal suffered a huge blow when Janine Marciano landed awkwardly after an attack and had to be stretchered off the court. This is another setback for the HD Spikers as just two weeks ago, the team also lost key spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga to an injury.
Marciano, who finished with 11 points, has been stepping up in the absence of Gonzaga and Rachel Daquis, who also did not suit up due to dengue.
Royse Tubino top-scored for Cignal with 13 points in the loss.
Cocolife set up a duel with the the top-seeded F2 Logistics in the knockout semifinals stage.
“There’s a lot of technical adjustments that we need to make. But all in all, we need to play the same way we played tonight – stay together and play as a team,” said Manu-Olevao on how they can survive the Cargo Movers.
The Final Four will be played on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.