Needing a win to ensure a semis date with the Petron Blaze Spikers, the Cignal HD Spikers rode the powerful hands of their imports, demolishing the Meralco Power Spikers in four sets, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21 in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix in the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
Meralco had their usual attacking problems, throwing away spike points down the stretch of each set. Cignal, as they had all-season, got most of their offense from their two American imports, open hitter Ariel Usher and middle blocker Amanda Anderson. Cignal amassed a 64-57 attacking advantage while limiting their errors to just 20 while Meralco surrendered 24.
University of Portland standout, Usher topped all scorers with 29 points, while Texan Amanda Anderson nailed 18 markers off 12 attacks two blocks and two aces. Former FEU Lady Tamaraw Cherry Vivas garnered nine points to pace Cignal’s offense.
After sweeping their first five matches, Cignal ended the elimination round with a 7-3 record good for a do-or-die matchup with the defending champs Petron Blaze Spikers on Thursday, November 18 at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
Cignal is used to being the underdog in any matchup. Two seasons ago, the HD Spikers came into the semis as a fourth set and wound up winning the title against their highly favored opponents.
Cignal head coach, Sammy Acaylar says he was confident with how his team would perform regardless of whom they face in the semifinals. “We prepare just as hard for any team we’re going to face. I’m confident in our preparation. Lahat naman ng teams malakas at may kanya-kanyang advantages against us. Nasa sa amin na ‘yun kung paano namin ia-address,” Acayalar said. Cignal and Petron split their two elimination round matches, both matches going into the fifth set.
Meralco, on the other hand, ended their elimination round tied for last place with a 1-9 slate. La Sallian, Mika Reyes led the Power Spikers with her tournament-best 15 points off 11 attacks, three blocks, and an ace. Estonian import, Liis Kullerkann contributed 13 points while Christina Alessi had 11 markers.
The Power Spikers will end their season on Saturday, November 21, a classification match against the RC Cola-Air Force Raiders for fifth place at Imus, Cavite.
Cignal (3) – Usher 29, Anderson 18, Vivas 9, Laborte 7, Hingpit 5, Gallenero 4, Hingpit 0, Ancheta 0, Mandapat 0 Dionela (L)
Meralco (1) – Reyes 15, Kullerkann 13, Alessi 11, Demecillo 9, Fajardo 6, Mercado 5, Baron 4, Fajardo 4, Dy 0, Macandili (L), Sison (L)