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Cignal shuts down Champion Infinity’s season; claims last Top Four spot

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Amidst the final Top Four spot on the line, the Cignal HD Spikers put together their best performance of the season, crushing the fiery Champion Infinity Active Smashers in straight set 25-22, 25-16, 25-21 in the final match of the preliminary stage of the inaugural season of the Spikers’ Turf at the FilOil Flying-V Arena tuesday afternoon.

In the early stages of the season, much of the Cignal roster was hit with the injury bug causing them to drop winnable matches against the league’s heavyweights. Still, Cignal earned wins against the league’s cellar-dwellers to setup their do-or-die situation with Champion Infinity.

The Active Smashers, on the other hand, were involved in many five-setters that really took a toll on their match points. Though they had a superior record before the match to Cignal, the HD Spikers still had an inside chance at making the Top Four should they win in straight sets.

A well-distributed attack, was what Cignal excecuted on. Former San Beda Red Lion, Saku Capate was unstoppable as the open hitter scored from wherever he was on the court, finishing with a game-high 16 points. USPF star, Edmar Bonono and FEU standout, Alexis Faytaren paced the Cignal offensive, each contributing 12 points. Cignal’s middle blockers, Bonjomar Castel and Reyson Fuentes controlled the action at the net, severely limiting Champion’s usually explosive offense to just 34 points off attacks. Cignal, meanwhile, countered decisively and garnered 54 attack points.

The league-leading scorer, Champion’s Joven Camaganakan, was stifled to just 12 points on 38 attack attempts. Camaganakan was the only Active Smasher able to break double digits.

Cignal joins the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters, and Philippine Air Force Airmen in the Top Four that will move on to the next phase of the tournament. The remaining teams will slug it out in another Round Robin with the best two records moving on to the Finals. The first match of the Final Four will be in May 24.

The Scores:

Cignal (3) – Capate 16, Bonono 12, Faytaren 12, Castel 11, Fuentes 5, Diezmo 3, Taneo 0, Christensen 0, Montero (L)

Champion (0) – Camganakan 12, Lee 6, Molate 6, Laja 4, Antonio 4, Mandani 3, Tonquin 2, Honrade 1, Abdulwahab 1, Gomez 1, Espiritu 0, Hu (L), Bańaga (L)

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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