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Cignal overpower Air Force, force deciding match for ST title

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The Cignal HD Spikers refused surrender in the Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference, extending the Finals to a winner-take-all Game Three with a straight-set Game Two victory over the Philippine Air Force Air Spikers 25-16, 25-17, 25-18 at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City in San Juan City.

“Noong Game One talaga sobrang gigil kami (Cignal), kahit ako sobrang gustong manalo. Ang problema nasobrahan kami sa energy – hindi nagtranslate nang maayos. Kaya after the game, we had a day off. Then we practiced really hard – talagang pinag-aralan namin ‘yung galaw nila (Air Force),” recalled Cignal head coach Michael Cariño.

Injecting dynamism into their offense, Cignal used their dazzling combination plays to overwhelm the Air Spikers. Cignal powered in 40 attacks to Air Force’s 25, while also amassing 12 block kills to the Air Spikers’ four. Air Force never got a chance to lead.

Open hitter Edmar Bonono was at the end of most of Cignal’s combination plays, amassing 19 attacks. San Beda standout, and Cignal’s leading scorer, Saku Capate dished out 12 points, while middle blocker Herschel Ramos contributed 11 points.

“For Game Three, I guess floor defense na lang talaga ang kailangan namin ayusin. Masyado kasi kaming umaasa sa libero pagdating sa depensahan,” said Cariño when asked what his team needed to adjust further.

Air Force, who were still without injured ace hitter Ranran Abdilla, got their only double-digit scoring output from Jeffry Malabanan, who managed 10 points. Air Force took Game One convincingly in four sets.

Game Three will take place on December 6, at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The Scores

Cignal (3) – Bonono 19, Capate 12, Ramos 11, Calderon 8, Ablan 4, Faytaren 1, Diezmo 0, Dela Cruz 0, Relata 0, Montero (L)

Air Force (0) – Malabanan 10, Labrador 9, Fuentes 7, Tolentino 3, Inauditio 2, Lopez 1, Abria 0, De Ocampo 0, Mosuela (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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