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Cignal ends win drought with straight sets win over IEM



After falling to their first two opponents, Cignal mustered enough strength to get their first win in the Spikers’ Turf Season 1 Open Conference, after disposing the tough Instituto Estetico Manila team, 25-22, 26-24, 25-22 earlier this afternoon, at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The score did not reflect the complexion of the match as IEM took it to Cignal in all of the sets, but fell flat when they needed to score most. Lorenzo Capate Jr. recorded a game-high 12 points to lead the Cignal unit, who also had three players in double-digit scoring. IEM, meanwhile, was carried by Jeffrey Jimenez, Evan Raymundo, and Jason Canlas. The trio combined for 32 of their team’s 53 points, but their concerted effort was not enough to stop the hungry Cignal spikers.

It was a tight opening set as both teams were in each other’s footsteps, but Cignal took a slight lead at, 10-8, with Capate drilling four points to put his team ahead. The lead was stretched to three in the second technical timeout, before IEM mounted a rally of four unanswered points to put them on top. Errors, however, haunted IEM from widening the gap, and the game was soon tied at 20-all. With the control of the match on the line, it was the Cignal players who delivered late with Jeffrey Lansangan scoring three points that made the difference in closing out the first set.

Falling short in the opening set, IEM jumped to a narrow 8-7 lead in the set’s initial technical timeout. By then, Raymundo had already scored four times to make sure his team went to a fine start this time around. Momentum, then, swung in favor of IEM, who led by as much as three on the back of a Jason Canlas spike to bring it to 16-13. Bonjomar Castel and susbtitute, Herschel Ramos, provided vital points midway through the second frame to keep Cignal from trailing further in the set. After a string of points from Cignal levelled the set at 20-all again, a couple of misfired spikes cost IEM the chance of levelling the set score. Tied at 24-all, Lansangan gave Cignal the advantage, and Jophius Banang, unluckily, blasted his attack way out, ending the set in favor of the team in white.

Two sets down, IEM gave themselves hope after moving in front again, 8-6, courtesy of multiple errors from Cignal. Luck evened out afterwards as it was the errors of IEM that brought Cignal ahead 11-9, later in the set. Fourteen points away from clinching their first win in the tournament, Cignal’s Ramos and Castel came up big to cushion their team’s lead, 16-13. Good defense and the emergence of Edmar Bonono, who finished the game with 11 points, on the scoring side of things towed Cignal to a comfortable position at 24-18. The IEM spikers refused to surrender by racking up four straight points before Castel killed the game with a low spike that ricocheted off a group of IEM players before hitting the floor.

Coach Michael Cari-o of Cignal was relieved after the match as he witnessed his team snapped their woeful losing skid. “Kailangan namin ‘yung panalo kasi first two games namin talo kami. Itong game na ito must-win para at least mahanap namin ‘yung winning ways. Once na manalo ‘yung team, medyo aangat ulit ‘yung confidence. So far, ‘yun ‘yung focus namin,” said the mentor who also attributed the previous losses to the players’ adjustments particularly in playing morning games as the team usually holds their training in the evening. In the end, he was pleased as he saw the team’s determination from wiping out a dismal string of results. “Kahit anong mangyari sa game, gusto talaga namin manalo,” Cari-o stressed. The result knots Cignal and IEM in the standings as both squads sport 1-2 win-loss cards.

The Scores:

Cignal (3) – Capate 12, Bonono 11, Castel 10, Lansangan 10, Ramos 6, Faytaren 2, Diezmo 2, Christenssen 1, Montero (L)

IEM (0) – Canlas 11, Jimenez 11, Raymundo 10, Dela Calzada 9, Banang 8, Beliran 4, Almario(L)

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