PVL: HD Spikers, Blockbusters lock outright semis seats
Mark Escarlote on Jun 06, 2018 04:18 PM
Defending champion Cignal advances outright into the best-of-three Final Four.
Defending champion Cignal and Vice Co. clinched the two outright semifinals seats after taking down their respective rivals in five-set matches Wednesday at the close of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference men’s division preliminary round.
Japan-bound Marck Espejo waxed-hot with 28 points to lead the HD Spikers to a 25-16, 22-25, 25-18, 24-26, 15-10, win over Philippine Army while the Blockbusters banked on crucial blocks in the closing stretch to edge Philippine Air Force, 25-19, 32-34, 19-25, 30-28, 16-14, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Cignal and Vice Co. closed the prelims with identical 4-1 win-loss records and with three-game winning streaks but the HD Spikers claimed the Final Four no. 1 via superior tiebreak.
Espejo displayed his scoring prowess with 23 attacks, four service aces and a kill block while adding 14 excellent receptions for Cignal.
Ysay Marasigan and Wendel Miguel scored 16 and 11 markers, respectively, for the HD Spikers, who will take on the team that will occupy the no. 4 seed in the best-of-three Final Four.
The Blockbusters recovered from a 13-10 deficit in the fifth set with three straight points. Air Force moved at match point, 14-13, before Vice Co. tied it at 14. Richard Solis and Paolo Pablico scored back-to-back kill blocks on reigning conference Most Valuable Player Ranran Abdilla to seal the two-hour, 14-minute duel.
Jude Garcia led Vice Co. with 18 points, Pablico had 16 while Kim Malabunga finished with 14.
Air Force, which was led by Fauzi Ismail’s 40-point explosion coming off 29 kills, nine blocks and two aces, dropped to 2-3 card tied with PLDT Home Fibr and Instituto Estetico Manila.
PJ Rojas had 16 while Benjaylo Labide and John Depamaylo posted 11 markers each for the Troopers, which finished the prelims with a 1-4 mark.
Army, Air Force, IEM and PLDT Home Fibr will battle in a round-robin quarterfinals for the last two semis berths.
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