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Cignal HD books return trip to Finals


By: Ohmer Bautista

After absorbing a tough five-set loss last Wednesday, the Cignal HD Spikers bounced back, sweeping the PLDT Home Fibr Ultra Fast Hitters in three-tight-sets, 25-23, 25-19, 33-31, in the Premier Volleyball League Men’s Reinforced Conference Semifinals at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

“‘Yung sinasabi ko sa players ko, ‘yung resiliency should be there,” Cignal HD head coach Oliver Almadro said. “After a sorry loss last Wednesday, I know my players will bounce back because the resiliency is there.”

Figuring in a close-quarter first and second set, the HD Spikers once again found themselves in a see-saw battle againsts the Fast Hitters, leading to a 24-all extension.

With no one giving ground in the two-to-win situation, instead of leaning on Marck Espejo’s star power, the HD Spikers dug deep into their collective hats and orchestrated a balanced attack, putting the game away.

“Hindi nag voice down into one,” said coach Almadro about his wards’ team effort down the stretch. “hindi lang si Marck Espejo eh, everybody delivered.”

Espejo topscored with 22 points off 19 spikes and three aces. Ysay Marasigan and Wendel Miguel added 13 and 12 markers respectively.

“Sabi ko nga, right attitude and big character ang importante to beat that kind of PLDT team,” he added. “May mga konting lapses but whats important is yung trust nila sa isa’t isa, ‘yung pride and ‘yung team work.

“It’s not about the talent, it’s about how they pushed themselves,” he beamed.

But aside from the performance of his players, coach Almadro showed gratitude to the PLDT team that pushed them to the limit.

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“PLDT is a great team,” he said. “And great teams will just push us forward.”

PLDT skipper John Vic de Guzman paced with 14. While his scoring partner Mark Alfafara only managed five points in the defeat.

With their finals ticket officially stamped, coach Almadro now turns his and the team’s attention to the unfinished business on the big event this Sunday, July 8.

“The job is not yet done, but what’s important is nandun na kami sa Finals ulit and we will be preparing for that,” he closed.

The Scores:

Cignal (3) Espejo 22, Marasigan 13, Miguel 12, Intal 8, Torres 4, Polvorosa 2, Mangulabnan 0, Sto. Tomas 0, Montero (L).

PLDT (0) – De Guzman 14, Franco 7, Pecana 6, Alfafara 5, Sumagaysay 4, Dela Vega 4, Umandal 3, Villegas 2, Vecina 0, Melgar (L).

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