The Cignal HD Spikers refused to take their seeding match lightly, overpowering the Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls 25-14, 17-25, 25-19, 25-21 for the second seed for the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Men’s Reinforced Conference playoffs at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Playing for the second spot, both teams were bound to face each other again in the playoffs with much higher stakes. What was technically a no-bearing match became an opportunity for Cignal to continue to establish their identity.
“What’s important is we have momentum. I always tell our players that every game, every practice, we should keep improving. Ang hinahabol ko this game was this to become a learning experience for us,” bared Cignal head coach Oliver Almadro.
The HD Spikers received a huge test on their character after letting a winnable second slip quickly. From there, Almadro wanted to nail home the attitude he wanted his player to adapt.
“I guess ‘yung resiliency and cohesiveness ng players ko bumabalik na. Totally new sila sa system ko na hyper. I want us to always have intensity no matter what; bearing or no bearing. They have to believe that they are someone; that our team is a no joke team,” continued Almadro as Cignal dominated Sta. Elena in the last two sets.
“Magandang psychological edge heading into the semis ‘yung win namin today. But we will not be complacent. Not because we won, magiging madali na ‘yung trabaho. It’s just a learning game and we really have to improve on many aspects,” the multi-titled mentor furthered.
UST standout Mark Alfafara led Cignal with 19 points off 13 attacks, three blocks, and three aces while Peter Torres and Saku Capate tallied 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Cignal clinched the second with a 4-1 record while Sta. Elena fell to third with their 3-2 card. Air Force holds the top seed with a similar 4-1 record while the 2-3 IEM Volley Masters and Army Troopers play for the last playoff spot on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
UE skipper Edward Camposano and former National University Bulldog Berlin Paglinawan led Sta. Elena with 14 points apiece.
Cignal (3) – Alfafara 19, Torres 12, Capate 11, Marasigan 8, Castel 5, Mangulabnan 3, Faytaren 2, Intal 2, Ramos H. 2, Diezmo 0, Villanueva 0, Montero (L)
Sta. Elena (1) – Camposano 14, Paglinawan 14, Encina 8, Enciso 5, Mandani 5, Rosete 4, Asia 2, Arda 1, Deximo 1, Almario (L)