Regaining their complete lineup, the Cignal HD Spikers took a step closer to the PVL Open Conference Finals, trumping the Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls in Game One of the best-of-three semis series, 25-16, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The HD Spikers cruised in the first two sets, outplaying their foes thoroughly. Cignal, however, collapsed midway through the third set and allowed the match to go to a fourth set.
“Normal naman, talagang ganoon,” said Cignal head coach Oliver Almadro about his team’s third set loss. “Lumalaban din naman talaga ‘yung Sta. Elena. For me it doesn’t matter kung three, four, or five sets as long as we find a way to win the game.”
True enough, Cignal’s arsenal was too much for the Wrecking Balls in the fourth set. The HD Spikers sprinted to a 22-14 lead in the closing set and never looked back.
“My players naman are very resilient. Kapag matalo ng isang set, they can bounce back. They just have to be reminded na ‘yung intensity dapat hindi binababa,” added Alamdro.
Almadro’s former ward from the Ateneo de Manila University, Ysay Marasigan, powered in 17 points to lead the HD Spikers. Saku Capate and Rex Intal each managed 13 markers.
College of Saint Benilde standout Isaah Arda topped Sta. Elena with 13 points.
The HD Spikers can advance to the Finals with a win in Game Two, tomorrow.
Cignal (3) – Marasigan 17, Capate 13, Intal 13, Torres 10, Bonono 9, Alfafara 6, Mangulabnan 2, Castel 1, Diezmo 1, Ramos 0, Villanueva 0, Montero (L)
Sta. Elena (1) – Arda 13, Camaganakan 8, Paglinawan 8, Encina 6, Orian 5, Pablico 3, Basilan 1, Ramirez 1, Deximo 0, Almario (L)