Air Force, Cignal set title showdown
ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 16, 2019 08:58 PM
Cignal escaped Sta. Elena-NU in five sets to set a titular date with Air Force.
Top seed Cignal and Go For Gold-Air Force beat their respective foes in the winner-take-all Game 3 semifinals in contrasting fashion to forge a title showdown in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference on Tuesday at the Paco Arena.
The repeat-seeking Jet Spikers disposed of the PLDT Home Fibr, 25-20, 25-23-25-22, in the first game with Bryan Bagunas leading the way.
Bagunas fired 23 points, 22 of which came from attacks to go along with his 19 excellent receptions for Air Force. Veteran playmaker Jessie Lopez dished out 28 excellent sets for the Jet Spikers.
“Do-or-die game kasi, lagi naman kaming ganun ng PLDT, so sabi ko matira matibay. Kung sino talaga yung willing manalo, yun ang mananalo. Tapos nag-focus talaga kami sa blockings namin, kailangan namin makapuntos sa blocking. Kasi kung hindi, mahihirapan talaga kami,” said Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo.
National pool members Joshua Umandal led PLDT with 12 points while John Vic De Guzman chipped in eight markers.
Meanwhile, the HD Spikers averted disaster from upset-seeking Sta. Elena-NU in a nail-biter, 25-16, 28-30, 20-25, 25-21, 18-16, decision to set a showdown with Air Force.
Marck Espejo unloaded 19 points with 33 excellent receptions and eight digs. Rex Intal had 15 points built on 10 attacks, three blocks, and two aces for Cignal.
The four-time Spikers’ Turf MVP Espejo, who is nursing a shoulder injury, converted a cross-court hit to put Cignal at set point, 15-14. Nico Almendras delivered a kill to knot things up for the Ball Hammers.
Espejo score on an off-speed attack to take the back the lead but Almendras answered to tie it at 16.
Espejo converted an off-the-block attack and an ace in the following possession to show Sta. Elena the exit door.
This will be Cignal and Air Force's sixth encounter in the finale. The HD Spikers are seeking their fourth crown.
Cignal team captain Ysay Marasigan provided 13 points while Jude Garcia and JP Bugaoan converted 10 and nine hits, respectively.
Vince Mangulabnan drove the HD Spikers’ offense after dishing out 42 excellent sets to go along with his four points while Manuel Sumanguid led the defensive chores with 23 excellent receptions and 17 digs.
Almendras led the Ball Hammers’ tough stand with 29 points on 23 attacks, five blocks, and an ace while Ed$ Camposano fired 20 points, 17 of which came from hits.