Cignal made sure to clinch a semifinals spot in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference while Rebisco-Philippines gained momentum heading into the 2019 Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championships.
Continuing their rampage, the HD Spikers ran past the Philippine Navy Sea Lions in straight sets, 25-18, 25-20, 26-24, Thursday at Paco Arena in Manila.
“Actually may pressure [entering the final four], kasi wala kaming talo tapos semifinals, doon talaga sa semifinals ‘yung tunay na laban, anybody’s game. Pagaaralan namin kung sino makakalaban namin, kailangan lang preparado kami,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor.
Though they punched their ticket to the semifinals, Clamor was disappointed with how his wards closed out the game.
“Kita naman ‘yung mga players masyadong nag relax which is ayaw talaga naming mga coaches na mangyari, na maging attitude ng mga players ‘yung ganon,” rued Clamor. “Well, sa huli, experience pa rin ‘yung pinairal kaya nanalo kami ng third set kahit nag deuce sa huli.”
With the HD Spikers trailing most of the third set, Marck Espejo made sure Cignal regained its bearings, tying the game at 20-all. Despite Greg Dolor’s emphatic attacks, JP Bugaoan stood the tallest as he fired four of Cignal’s last six points to close out the contest.
Espejo spearheaded Cignal’s attack with 14 points while Ysay Marasigan had 11 markers.
On the other hand, Greg Dolor scored 14 points to pace the 4-6 Navy.
“Sana magtuloy tuloy lang ‘yung ginagalaw ng mga bata, sana kung ano ‘man ‘yung [mga] nagiging problema namin, masolusyunan namin pagdating sa mga darating pa naming practice at competitions,” said Rebisco head coach Dante Alinsunurin.
After losing the first set, Espejo, who played for Cignal in the previous game, powered the Nationals against PLDT in the second and third frames to gain a 2-1 advantage.
Tied at 11-all in the third set, Espejo led a 5-0 rally to gain cushion. From there, Rebisco held on to its lead and never looked back, as Fauzi Ismail and Bryan Bagunas connived for a 3-0 rally to extend the cushion to seven, 22-15.
Espejo and Rex Intal put up the finishing touches.
Bagunas led the team in scoring with 20 points including 18 attacks while Ismail and Espejo added 17 and 14, respectively.
On the other hand, the Power Hitters – who dropped to a 7-3 standing, were led by Mark Alfafara and Pao Pablico with 10 markers each.
Earlier in the day, the Animo Green Blazing Spikers kept their Final Four hopes alive as they outlasted the Tony Koyfman-less Volleyball Never Stops Volleyball Club (VNS VC) Griffins in a grueling five-set affair, 21-25, 25-22, 34-36, 25-23, 15-12.
With both teams exchanging hits in an extended third set, Jeremy Merat made the much-needed separation of a kill to take the lead, 35-34. Gian San Pascual then ended the tightly-contested frame with an attack from the middle.
John Delos Reyes was a force to be reckoned with in the fourth set, scoring Animo’s last four points while Roniey Adviento capped it up with a spike to extend the game to a deciding set, 25-23.
Down by one in the final stanza, 11-12, Dumago fired two points on Animo’s 4-0 rally to end the match.
“Sa tingin ko kailangan pang ano eh, ito naman is for exposure, so whatever ‘yung ma-gain ng mga bata for this tournament, malaking bagay. However, we still have to work on ‘yung mga maturity ng team namin and at the same time ‘yung pag-jel,” said Animo head coach Aaron Velez.
Adviento paced Animo with 22 points on 18 attacks, three aces, and a block while Delos Reyes chipped in 19 points six of which came from blocks to revive the Green Blazing Spikers’ final four bid.
Animo is tied at the fifth spot with the Sta. Elena Ball Hammers with a 5-4 win-loss standing.
With Tony Koyfman leaving the country due to family reasons – French hitter Jeremy Merat and Pemmy Bagalay shouldered the scoring load for VNS with the former tallying 29 points while the latter added 20 for the Griffins, who slid to a 2-9 standing.
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