HD Spikers, Jet Spikers near Finals clash

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 11, 2019 09:32 PM
HD Spikers, Jet Spikers near Finals clash
Cignal and Go for Gold-Air Force inched closer to a championship showdown.

Top seed Cignal HD Spikers and Go for Gold-Air Force moved a step closer to forging a Finals showdown after drawing first blood in their respective best-of-three semifinals pairings in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference.

The HD Spikers swept Sta. Elena, 31-29, 25-23, 25-18, Thursday at the Paco Arena in Manila.

Jude Garcia and Ysay Marasigan led the way for Cignal, scoring 13 points apiece.

“Nu’ng game namin sa eliminations, punong puno talaga ng emosyon,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor of their only elims loss at the hands of the Ball Hammers. “Siguro ngayong semifinals, ini-instill ko lang sa mind ng mga players ko na dapat i-set aside ang emosyon nila, na talagang laruin lang nila kung paano sila maglaro."

National team mainstays Marck Espejo and Rex Intal provided the spark off the bench. Espejo fired 10 markers to go along with 12 excellent receptions while Intal collected six blocks in limited minutes.

Nico Almendras fired 13 points all coming from attacks for the Ball Hammers while team captain James Natividad provided nine points and nine excellent receptions.

Meanwhile, Ranran Abdilla dropped 25 points and 15 excellent receptions in the Jet Spikers’ escape over PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12.

Bryan Bagunas added 23 markers for Air Force, which can close the series on Sunday.

Abdilla scored three of the Jet Spikers’ 4-0 barrage for a 9-4 lead. The Power Hitters fought back and were able to close the gap, 13-12. Abdilla closed his heroic outing with back-to-back kills to seal the win.

Kim Malabunga added 13 points built on eight attacks, three blocks, and two aces while Madz Gampong also chipped in 13 points and eight digs for Air Force. Setter Jessie Lopez tallied 27 excellent sets.

Joshua Umandal paced PLDT with 21 points, 20 of which coming from attacks while Paolo Pablico added 11 points, nine digs, and 11 receptions.

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