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Tiebreaker Times


Marck Espejo, Cignal draw first blood against PLDT

By: Ohmer Bautista

Coming off a three-week long layoff, the Marck Espejo-led defending champions Cignal HD Spikers showed no signs of rust as they made swift work of the PLDT Home Fibr Fast Hitters, 25-22, 25-20, 26-24,in the Premier Volleyball League Men’s Reinforced Conference Semifinals at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

“Nagpahinga kami ng three weeks but yung team naman, they’re prepared,” Cignal head coach Oliver Almadro shared. “[Pero] medyo na-layoff kami sa pressure-pop games so we really have to maximize our end game and i-level up pa namin ang intensity ng team.”

Holding a two-sets-to-none buffer coming into the third set, the HD Spikers thought they were off the hook as they erected a three point lead, 19-16. However, PLDT responded, unloading a 7-3 spurt to take a slim lead, 23-22.

But the hard-hitting Espejo’s cross-court kill restored order for Cignal, sparking a 4-1 finish to close out the game.

Espejo finished with a game high 20 points, built on 19 spikes and an ace, much to the delight of his coach.

“Malaking bagay na meron kaming Marck Espejo,” he said. “Pero of course, he cannot do it alone. Na-mamaximize ni Marck ‘yung strength niya because of his teammates.”

His longtime partner Ish Polvorosa delivered with 34 excellent sets, while Rex Intal and Ysrael Marasigan added 12 and 10 points respectively.

Meanwhile, PLDT were led by Mark Alfafara with 11, while John De Guzman managed 10 markers.

Still, despite the win, Coach Almadro knows that the battle isn’t over, and he will make sure that they will be ready for Game Two on Wednesday, June 4.

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“We will wait for their counter but of course, we will be ready,” he declared.

The Scores:

Cignal HD (3) – Espejo 20, Intal 12, Marasigan 10, Torres 6, Miguel 6, Bonono 1, Mangulabnan 0, Polvorosa 0, Montero (L).

PLDT (0) – Afafara 11, De Guzman 10, Pecana 8, Franco 3, Umandal 3, Orian 3, Sumagaysay 1, Vecina 0, Villegas 0, Dela Vega 0, Melgar (L), Longavela (L).

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