Espejo shines as HD Spikers take championship series opener

ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 20, 2019 09:00 PM
Espejo shines as HD Spikers take championship series opener
Marck Espejo scattered 33 points in Cignals' Game 1 Finals series win over Go for Gold-Air Force

Marck Espejo flaunted his all-around brilliance once more as Cignal outlasted defending champion Go forGold-Air Force, 25-18, 22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-11, to take Game 1 of the Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference Finals on Sunday at the Paco Arena.

The HD Spikers came back from a 1-2 match deficit and banked on Espejo to deliver the goods in the best-of-three series opener.

Espejo unloaded 33 points scattered off 29 hits, three blocks, and an ace laced with 19 excellent receptions and 10 digs for a well-rounded game.

“Sabi ko sa kanila, kung gusto nating manalo talagang mag all-out tayo ilabas talaga natin kung anong tayo,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor, whose squad is looking to sweep the season after winning the Reinforced Conference crown a few months back.

Cignal will look to close things out on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Sta. Elena-NU defeated University of Perpetual Help, 25-13, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22, in Game 1 of the best-of-three battle for bronze.

Capitalizing on the Jet Spikers’ early attack errors, the HD Spikers zoomed in on a 4-1 advantage in the fifth set. Rex Intal and Edmar Bonono then stretched the lead to four points entering the first technical timeout, 8-4.

Kim Malabunga fired one off the hands of Bonono which was then followed by an attack error from Espejo, trimming Cignal’s lead to just two. However, that’s the closest that the Jet Spikers could reach as Espejo spoiled every comeback attempt that they mounted.

Alfred Valbuena put the HD Spikers at match-point while an attack error from Ran Abdilla spelled doom for the reigning champs.

Cignal team captain Ysay Marasigan chimed in 18 points on 15 hits, two blocks, and an ace along with 13 excellent digs to help extend the HD Spikers’ unbeaten streak to nine games.

Bonono and Intal had eight markers each while Anjo Pertierra had seven markers for Cignal, which got 33 excellent sets from Vince Mangulabnan.

Abdilla finished with 18 points and 21 excellent receptions while Fauzi Ismail added 16 markers for the Jet Spikers. Jessie Lopez dished out 32 excellent sets along with 11 digs in a lost cause.

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