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Cignal surprises Petron with come-from-behind victory

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Things couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for fans of the Philippine Super Liga, as the first game featured all the action one can expect from the league. Cignal overcame Petron in a thrilling five-set victory, 18-25, 17-25, 25-16, 25-18, 16-14, at the Alonte Sports Arena, Binan Laguna.

The start of the first set had both teams getting the hang of not only their opponents, but their teammates as well. Petron was the first team to figure things out, jumping to a 19-10 lead after a Dindin Santiago-Manabat dump. Cignal was able to close the gap, eventually going on a 5-1 run to trim the lead to 5, 23-18, before Petron pounced on the victory with 2 quick points.

Petron’s groove continued in the second set. After trading the initial two points of the set, Petron vaulted on a 7-0 run, led by Aby Marano scoring on three aces, for an 8-1 lead. Similar to the first set, Cignal was once again able to cut the deficit with a 6-1 run behind the efforts of Micmic Laborte and Ariel Usher. Petron denied their opponents a chance to take the set as they countered with a run of their own. Five Petron players scored on their team’s huge 9-1 run with the help of their setter, Erica Adashi’s brilliant play.

Petron had a sweep on their mind when they entered the third set. After trading points to start the set, Petron’s lead ballooned as they went on a 4-0 run with some help from Cignal’s errors, 11-7. This was where Cignal finally decided to make a stand. All of a sudden their defenders moved quicker, their attackers more accurate, and their spikes more powerful. Fritz Gallenero scored down the line, igniting Cignal’s 5-0 run to take the lead, 12-11. Petron battled back and took the lead off a Molina attack that bounced off the block. From this point on the imports of Cignal took over. Amanda Anderson and Usher connived for an 8-0 Cignal onslaught that was temporarily halted by an attack error by Usher. Petron was unable to take advantage of the mistake, committing one of their own with a Frances Molina service error. Gallenero then ended the set with back-to-back kills.

Both teams took turns scoring in the fourth set. Although Petron was unable to find an answer to the scoring the Cignal’s Usher and Anderson, they were able to keep pace and take a slim lead after a Rupia Inck Furtado cross court attack. The close set turned into a rout, with Cignal sharing the ball and scoring on an 8-0 run to take set point, 24-17 after a Petron error. Petron was given a chance to turn things around after a Laborte error, but Rachel Daquis’ service error ended the set, forcing a crucial fifth set.

The fifth set was close all through out. Petron was able to claw its way to a 13-11 lead, but Usher flexed her muscles once more, scoring two straight kills to tie the set at 13. Manabat was able to score for Petron, but the dynamic duo of Cignal pulled their team through. Anderson scored on a kill to tie the set, and Usher once again scored back-to-back points for a 16-14 Cignal victory.

Petron will attempt to bounce back as they face the Meralco Power Spikers on October 13, 4:15 in the afternoon at the San Juan Arena, while Cignal will try to continue its hot start as they go against Philips gold on the same day, 6:15.

The scores:

Cignal (3) – Usher 31, Gallenero 14, Anderson 11, Vivas 8, Laborte 6, Mandapat 4, Dionela 1 (L)

Petron (2) – Manabat 16, Marano 14, Daquis 9, Molina 9, Furtado 9, Adachi 5, Cayetano 2, Reyes (L)

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