HD Spikers send clear statement with Game 1 win

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 09, 2017 03:58 PM
HD Spikers send clear statement with Game 1 win
AVENGERS. Ysay Marasigan and Cignal have avenged their first and only loss in the tournament.

Only one team had been able to beat Cignal HD in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.

On Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, the HD Spikers avenged that first and only loss – on the biggest stage and under the brightest lights of the championship round, no less.

Ysay Marasigan unloaded 21 points from start to finish and Cignal upended erstwhile tormentor Mega Builders in four sets, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, and 25-17 to close in on the championship.

The top two teams in the elimination round were going at it in the earlygoing, exchanging the first two sets until Marasigan went online and scored three points in the HD Spikers 9-5 run to close out the third set. “Malakas pa rin yung Mega Builders. We have to be resilient in everything we do,” head coach Oliver Almadro said.

Edmar Bonono and Peter Torres only followed their skipper and the three linked up to give their team an easy win in the fourth frame.

In the end, Bonono had 14 points and Torres had 11 markers and in all, Cignal made good on 53 of their 107 attempted spikes.

All of it was made possible by the top-notch playmaking from Vince Mangulabnan who had 43 excellent sets. “Expected na from Ysay, pero maganda rin kasi tandem nila ni Vince. Yung mix namin, ‘di sila sobrang powerful individually, pero nag-e-entangle yung thinking nila with each other,” Almadro said.

Not only did the HD Spikers avenge their straight sets loss to the Volley Bolt in the elimination round, they also moved one win away from their second title in the last two conferences. Their mentor isn’t guaranteeing just yet, however, in saying, “One down, but it’s not yet done. To get the championship, you (have to) win two games.”

Cignal shoots for a sweep of the Finals on Saturday still at the same venue. “Whatever they believe they can do, they can do it. The attitude of my players will win this for us,” Almadro expressed.

Bryan Bagunas top-scored for Mega Builders with 14 points. Francis Saura was right there with him with 13 markers of his own.

The Volley Bolt will need much more from their supporting cast, however, if they are to stay alive.

Meanwhile, Philippine Air Force got a leg up in the battle for third by downing Sta. Elena in four sets, 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, and 25-16.

Jeffrey Malabanan showed the way with 19 points and was flanked by Rudolfo Labrador and Howard Mojica who had 14 points apiece.

The Jet Spikers were on-point from atop the nets and scored 53 points compared to their opponents’ 39. They also registered 12 net blocks.

For the Wrecking Balls, Berlin Paglinawan topped the scoring column with 15 points.

Game 2 of the best-of-three series for the bronze medal is also scheduled for Saturday.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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