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Bagunas’ absence no hurdle for Cignal as Umandal leads charge

Jau Umandal had to squeeze every ounce of energy left in his body on Wednesday night just to lift Cignal to a second-straight five-set victory in the 2024 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference.

Umandal was still reeling from the effects of their marathon victory over Criss Cross last Sunday.

Still, he delivered the goods and steered the HD Spikers to a 21-25, 25-18, 20-25, 25-19, 15-7 victory over the D’Navigators at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The reigning Open Conference MVP erupted for a conference-high 36 points on 32 attacks, three kill blocks, and one ace to go along with 10 excellent receptions and six excellent digs.

ST-2024-Cignal-vs.-DNavigators-Jau-Umandal-0608 Bagunas' absence no hurdle for Cignal as Umandal leads charge News Spikers' Turf Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Siguro kami talagang pagod pa kami sa game namin against Criss Cross. Siguro inovercome namin ‘yung pagod ngayon at lahat ng pressure na meron kami sa team,” said Umandal.

“As in talagang kahit mentally prepared ka, kung physical condition mo talagang pagod, sobrang hirap.”

He continued, “Para sa akin, mas nanatili sa akin ‘yung pagiging beterano ko na kailangan ma-overcome ko ‘tong pagod na ‘to para hindi sayang ‘yung punta ko dito at hindi sayang yung pinaghirapan ilang araw. Ayaw ko rin magpatalo ng basta basta lang.”

Bryan Bagunas missed Cignal’s match against the D’Navigators due to his commitment to his Taiwanese club WinStreak. Umandal, however, said that Bagunas’ absence played no factor in their slow start.

ST-2024-Cignal-vs.-Criss-Cross-Bryan-Bagunas-7885 Bagunas' absence no hurdle for Cignal as Umandal leads charge News Spikers' Turf Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Hindi naman, kasi usually naman ito naman ‘yung tao namin. Ito ‘yung pinakamatagal mag-prepare. Kumbaga ito pa rin ‘yung lineup namin noong nag-champion kami noong PNVF. Si Bryan talaga, si Bryan kasi ‘yung nag-adjust sa amin, kaya madali agad namin na-adapt si Bryan,” said Umandal.

#ReadMore  Air Force sweeps Cignal anew to bag Reinforced Conference title

Umandal said that it was all worth it to the end as the win versus the D’Navigators improved their record to 6-0.

They are now the first team to enter the round-robin semifinals.

“Ngayon sobrang saya, sobrang worth it ‘yung pinaghirapan namin. Dalawang araw lang pahinga namin tapos laban namin. Masaya kumbaga nakikita namin ‘yung pinaghihirapan namin,” he said.

“I hope na magtuloy-tuloy ‘yung ganitong performance namin at ‘yung pag-focus namin sa season na ‘to.”

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