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Cignal grounds Air Force, clinches first Spikers Turf title



The HD Spikers got down to business in the opening set, with Edward Ybañez and Edmar Bonono leading the charge. They blasted Air Force with their sticky blocking on the net and their consistent offense. Come the second set, the Air Spikers grabbed an 8-7 lead, with Jeffrey Malabanan doing most of the damage. The HD Spikers once again relied on Bonono and Ybañez to take an 18-14 lead in the latter part of the set. Both teams exchanged attacks and errors that resulted in a prolonged deuce, with neither team able to string together enough points to take the set. After a net touch violation called on Cignal gave Air Force a 28-27 lead, both teams then found themselves at a 28-all deadlock. Ybañez scored a quick hit for a 30-29 lead, but Malabanan unleashed one of his own to tie things at 30. Lorenzo Capate Jr. and Bonono ended the set for Cignal, giving them a two-sets-to-none advantage against the Air Force.

Jessie Lopez found the hole in the HD Spikers’ floor defense to cut Cignal’s lead to one, 18-17, in a back-and-forth third set. Rueben Inaudito and Malabanan tied the set at 20-all, but Capate, Bonono, and Alexis Faytaren combined efforts to end any chances for Air Force to extend the match.

“Sobrang pinaghandaan namin ang game three, dinagdagan namin ang puso. Number one na pinagtunuan namin ay blocking kaya pati ang mga malalakas na atake ng Air Force kaya namin abutiin,” said Cignal Head Coach Michael Carino, about how his team had bounced back from what he called a “lousy” performance by the HD Spikers in the first two games of the finals.

Ybañez, the Finals MVP of the series and a University of Southern Philippines Foundation standout, powered Cignal with 13 points. Capate and Bonono combined for 20 markers for the HD Spikers with the latter also chipping in four digs.

Labrador scored 12 points for Air Force while Jeffrey Malabanan chipped 11 markers. Jessie Lopez outworked this conference’s Best Setter as the latter had 15 excellent sets against 22 excellent set of the former.

The Scores:

Cignal (3) – Ybanez 13, Bonono 10, Capate 10, Faytaren 8, Ramos 8, Diezmo 2, Ablan 1, Dela Cruz 0, Relata 0,  Montero (L), Christansen (L)

PHI Air Force (0) – Labrador 12, Malabanan 11, Jeruz 7, Inaudito 7, Fuentes 3, Lopez 2, Tolentino 0, De Ocampo 0, Tajanlangit 0, Mosuela (L)

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