HD Spikers claim solo lead

Miguel and Cignal cement their hold on the solo lead following a straight-set victory over VNS-One Alicia in the Spikers’ Turf. | Photograph courtesy of SPIKERS’ TURF WENDELL

By TDT

September 9, 2022

Cignal survived VNS-One Alicia’s furious late-game rally to pull off a 25-22, 25-20, 26-24 victory in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference Thursday at the Paco Arena.

The HD Spikers, who have yet to drop a single set, hung tight in the crucial stretch to book the thrilling win and broke away from the three-way tie with their third consecutive victory.

They also stretched their winning streak to 16 matches that dates back to the Reinforced Conference in 2019.

Geuel Asia gave Cignal a five-point advantage after delivering a booming ace, 20-15, to inch closer to the win late in the third set.

But the Griffins did not give up and leaned on Ben San Andres, who spearheaded a scoring rampage that put them at set point, 24-22, after trailing for most part of the deciding set.

Ysay Marasigan and Edmar Bonono kept the defending champions alive, scoring on consecutive plays to save two points for Cignal.

San Andres, who took charge in VNS-One Alicia’s late rally, committed two straight attack errors which ended the match.

“Well, when it comes to this kind of match, whoever has the biggest heart will definitely emerge victorious. We had a good performance. We still won despite being rattled at endgame,” HD Spikers head coach Dexter Clamor said.

“The most important thing is how we finished the match.”

Marasigan, who was called for a crucial net violation during the latter part of the third set, atoned for his mistake and spearheaded Cignal with 14 points built on 12 attacks, an ace, and a block.

Marck Espejo added eight points while JP Bugaoan tallied six points, including two kill blocks as 10 players scored two points or more for the HD Spikers in the game that lasted for an hour and 35 minutes.

The Griffins, after trimming Cignal’s lead to just two in the opening set, 18-20, were plagued by errors which eventually put the HD Spikers at set point, 24-19.

Espejo and Rex Intal then committed service and attack errors, respectively, while Roniey Adviento converted off a slide which saved three set points for VNS-One Alicia before Espejo dropped the hammer to give his side the 1-0 lead.

Things looked a bit easy for Cignal in the second set after going on a 7-2 blast after the second technical timeout to take a 23-15 advantage over the Griffins. Kevin Montemayor tried to will VNS-One Alicia back into the match but Espejo delivered the final blows that helped the HD Spikers take the set.

Montemayor and San Andres tallied 13 and nine points, respectively, for the Griffins, who fell to 2-1 win-loss card.

VNS-One Alicia missed the services of star middle blocker Kim Malabunga, who sprained his right ankle against Sta. Rosa.


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