Cignal averted a late collapse, wriggling past Generika-Ayala in a five-set 25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 22-25, 15-12 escape act in the 2020 PSL Imus City Mayor Maliksi Super Cup: Spike for a Cause, Wednesday at the Imus Sports Complex.
Reeling from consecutive losses in the third and fourth sets, the HD Spikers regained their footing in the fifth. They leaned on the offensive exploits of Alohi Robins-Hardy and Fiola Ceballos, and the steady service game of Mae Luna, in the final frame.
Knotted at eight, Luna — who finished with five markers, all of which coming from the service line — came off the bench as a spark plug. She dealt with damage from afar with three straight aces, giving Cignal a 12-8 cushion.
Trade of blows ensued from there, until Ria Meneses pulled the Lifesavers to within a point at 12-13. Ceballos and Robins-Hardy then weaved their magic; the latter orchestrated the crucial plays that allowed the former to detonate the finishing blows to seal the deal for the HD Spikers.
Swiss army knife Robins-Hardy spearheaded Cignal’s charge, letting loose 15 points built on 10 attacks, three blocks, and two aces. Ceballos supplemented 13 markers off of 11 hits and a pair of aces.
Mumay Vivas chimed in nine points, while Janine Marciano and Roselyn Doria managed eight apiece.
Despite pulling through at the end, the HD Spikers could’ve avoided an uphill battle with the win-hungry Lifesavers. Cignal head coach Edgar Barroga acknowledges that his team remains a work in progress.
“Yung ine-ensayo kasi namin medyo hilaw pa, so meron kaming game plan yesterday. Pero siyempre kapag dumarating ‘yung crucial game, nawawalan tayo ng pamalit,” Barroga said. “At the same time, nakikita natin na may mga bata pa rin maglaro sa loob ng court, but fortunately nag-perform ‘yung galing sa labas. Si Alohi naging consistent sa setting and spiking.”
Nonetheless, it was more than enough for Cignal to bounce back from a massive straight-set whipping at the hands of the West Japan All-Stars two days ago.
Generika-Ayala, on the other hand, remained winless in two matches.
Elizabeth Vicet Campos and Eli Soyud topped the Lifesavers with 16 points each. Meneses managed 11.
Cignal tries to sustain its momentum when it collides with Sta. Lucia. Meanwhile, Generika-Ayala seeks to prevent a winless campaign when it faces the West Japan All Stars. Both matches will be played on Thursday, February 5, at the same venue.