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Cignal edges Air Force in bronze medal series preview

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With the battle-for-third match-up of the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference already set, the Cignal HD Spiker’s capped off their second round stint with a straight-set win over their bronze medal opponent Air Force Airmen 29-27, 25-14, 28-26 at the FilOil Flying-V Arena.

Though today’s match had no effect on his team’s finish in the tournament, Cignal head coach, Michael Carino admitted that it was imperative for his team to win this match to boost its morale heading in to the bronze medal series. “Mababa kasi ‘yung morale ng team the past few games kasi nga galing sa talo kaya importante na matapos ‘yung elimination ng panalo. Nung game against Cagayan ‘di namin nakuha ‘yung game then against PLDT may mga player na na-injure sa mahirap.’

Former UAAP MVP Red Christensen topped all HD Spikers in scoring with 10 points in a set and a half of action. Three players hit eight points for Cignal, namely Reyson Fuentes, Herschel Ramos, and Bonjomar Castel. Both teams toggled through all their players throughout the match, but it was Cignal’s blocking and serving that edged their cause in the end. Cignal notched more block kills (9-5) and more service aces (4-0). Their blocking and serving were also incredibly clutch as their last two points in the heated first and third set were a block than an ace.

Cignal also played without their starting open hitter, Edmar Bonono, who was nursing an ankle injury he sustained in their loss to PLDT last Tuesday. According to Coach Carino, Bonono will be ready for Game One this Sunday.

Air Force trotted out seldom used players as they sat starters, Clarence Esteban and Dante Alinsunurin who were both nursing nagging injuries. Seldom used, Jhimson Merza tied Ben Inaudito in scoring with 10 points that led all Airmen. Opposite hitter, Jeffrey Malabanan paced their offense with nine markers while Edwin Tolentino contributed eight points.

Game One of the best-of-three bronze medal series between these teams will be on Sunday, 9 a.m. at the FilOil Flying-V Arena.

The Scores

Cignal (3) – Christensen 10, Ramos 8, Fuentes 8, Castel 8, Capate 7, Dela Cruz 6, Lansangan 5, Faytaren 4, Bagalay 4, Taneo 3, Diezmo 0, Montero (L), Luces (L)

PAF (0) – Inaudito 10, Merza 10, Malabanan 9, Tolentino 8, Hamdan 5, Dacurong 4, Balse 3, Acojedo 0, Lopez 0, Mosuela (L), Tajanlangit (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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