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Neimer, Blaze Spikers crush Cignal; enter PSL Grand Prix finals

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Reigning champion Petron booked a return flight to the finals as it dominated Cignal, 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-21, in Game 2 of their Philippine Superliga Grand Prix best-of-three semifinal series at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Stephanie Niemer caught fire to tow the Blaze Spikers to their sixth straight finals appearance in this prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Asics, Mueller, Mikasa, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Cocolife, Hotel Sogo and Data Project.

Niemer erupted for 26 kills, five aces and four blocks for 35 points while Katherine Bell delivered 18 markers for the Blaze Spikers, who drew impressive numbers from local players like Mika Reyes, Rhea Dimaculangan and Denden Lazaro.

Reyes, the national team mainstay, had seven markers while Dimaculangan finished with 26 excellent sets and Lazaro tallied 14 digs and eight receptions.

Despite posting an impressive win, Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos still expressed respect to the HD Spikers, who kissed the title hopes goodbye in this tourney that has ESPN5 and 5Plus as broadcast partners.

“All I can say is that Cignal was very eager to beat us. Their movement showed that they were eager to win,” said Delos Santos, who is two wins away from sweeping the tournament they first achieved in the All-Filipino Conference in 2015.

The Blaze Spikers will face the survivor in the other semifinal pairing between F2 Logistics and PLDT Home Fibr in the best-of-three finals.

Imports Erica Wilson and Ana Artemeva, meanwhile, notched 24 and 18 points, respectively, for Cignal, which was relegated to the battle for third place.

Skipper Rachel Anne Daquis also had an impressive performance with 12 points.