Cignal reclaimed the crown it lost last year in dominant fashion, completing a 15-game sweep of the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference.
But the HD Spikers first needed to outlast AMC-Cotabato in a five-set thriller for the Finals series and conference sweep, 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 28-30, 15-7, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.
This is Cignal’s fourth title overall, making it the winningest franchise in league history, surpassing Philippine Air Force’s three crowns.
The HD Spikers have also won three of the last four editions of the country’s first men’s volley league.
“Ito talaga yung in-eye namin nitong conference na ito, na mag-champion ulit. Sobrang na-down kami pagkatalo namin last conference, pero wala namang gagawin kung hindi bumawi,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor.
Finals MVP Marck Espejo came through with another 26 points to go with 34 excellent receptions. Meanwhile, Wendel Miguel delivered 16 points including four blocks.
JP Bugaoan added 15 points, while Ysay Marasigan had 12 points and libero Manuel Sumangguid tallied 18 receptions and 13 digs.
With Cignal ahead 21-19 in the fourth set, AMC’s Jau Umandal was helped to the bench due to cramps after an attack attempt.
But Madz Gampong came to the rescue and powered the Cotabato Spikers to pull off a 30-28 escape after a back-row hit for the set point. Then Rex Intal blocked Miguel to force a decider.
However, Miguel and Espejo connived in the fifth set to leave AMC early and secure the championship.
“I-compose lang namin yung sarili namin kasi hindi pwedeng nagpapaapekto kami sa loob ng court. Kasi talagang test of character itong championship game eh,” Clamor on what he told his team after the fourth period.
Umandal made a game-high 28 points, while Gampong chipped in 16 points to his name.
With Cignal’s victory, Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography secured third place due to a superior set ratio over Iloilo.