After a devastating semifinals loss, the Cignal HD Spikers stifled weathered the Foton Tornadoes, 25-16, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, and brought home the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference bronze medal at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
In a stark contrast to their loss to F2 Logistics last Thursday, Cignal found their groove early in the match. Aggressive floor defense and serving pushed the HD Spikers to an insurmountable 16-10 first set lead, then anchored a 9-2 second set run that gave them a 19-13 lead.
Cignal slowed down in the third set, allowing Foton’s offense to get set. Hits from Jovelyn Gonzaga and Royse Tubino kept the HD Spikers at a tie with Foton, 20-all, before the Foton pulled clutch transition kills from Ej Laure and Jaja Santiago to seal the set.
The steady trade of attacks wore into the fourth frame with Foton taking their final lead of the match, 14-13. From there the HD Spikers pounced on every Foton miscue and took a commanding 22-14 lead. With Cignal at match point, 24-18, Foton threatened with a late 4-0 run before Gonzaga put the final touches on their season with her signature cross-court smash.
“Na-meet naman namin ang expectation ng management na at least manalo. Siyempre sabi nga nila kapag hindi para sa’yo, hindi meant to be,” said Cignal head coach George Pascua.
“Tinake na lang namin na lesson learned ang nangyari sa amin tapos pinractice na lang namin ang mga lapses namin na ano naman namin na-meet naman namin ang expectation namin sa ginawa naming game plan,” the multi-time PSL champion coach added.
Cignal managed their best finish in one of the PSL’s two major conferences since making the Finals in the inaugural season.
Perpetual product Royse Tubino led Cignal with 17 points, while proud Ilongga Jovelym Gonzaga added 15.
2016 Grand Prix MVP Jaja Santiago towed Foton with 21 points, while middle blocker Maika Ortiz provided 12.
Two-time Grand Prix champions Foton suffer their worst finish to a conference since finishing fourth in the 2015 All-Filipino Cup.
Cignal (3) – Tubino 17, Gonzaga 15, Morada 12, Vivas 10, Daquis 9, Marciano 3, Mercado 1, Saet 1, Carlos 0, Dionela (L)
Foron (1) – Santiago 21, Ortiz 12, Laure 8, Rosario 8, Berte 4, De Leon 2, Negrito 2, Doria 0, Guliman 0, Guino-O 0, Perez 0, Reyes (L)