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Cignal survives another five-setter, thwarts Philips’ Gold

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Opening their season in cardiac fashion, the Cignal HD Spikers outlasted the Philips’ Gold Lady Slammers 15-25, 25-15, 25-17, 19-25, 16-14 for their second consecutive win in the Philippine Superliga Gran Prix at the San Juan Arena.

Both teams traded convincing set wins leading up to the frantic deciding frame. The Lady Slammers started off coughing up errors, giving Cignal a 9-6 lead. Attacks from Philps Gold import, Alexis Olgard, and Cignal’s errors brought the Lady Slammers to within one, 11-12, before a pair of Cignal attacks capped by Rizza Mandapat gave the HD Spikers first crack at the match, 14-11. Cignal nearly threw their their advantage away with Fritz Gallenero and Ariel Usher dropping back-to-back errors that brought the match to a deuce, 14-all. But, Gallenero made up for her error in the following point, sending a rocket down the line which Team Captain, Micmic Laborte, followed with long-rally ending kill to seal the match for the HD Spikers.

Despite giving up 31 errors, the HD Spikers got a leg up through their 61-54 attacking advatage, which their setter, April Hingpit, greatly helped with 37 excellent sets, nearly matching the Lady Slammers’ Phil-Am setter’s 46 assists.

Cignal import, Ariel Usher continued her blistering start to the season, dropping 30 points off 27 attacks, two aces, and a block. The HD Spikers’ other import, Amanda Anderson added 18 markers off 15 attacks and three blocks. The HD Spikers had come off a five-set win last Saturday when they took down the defending champs Petron Blaze Spikers.

“Kung tutuusin, mas gusto ko sana na hindi abutin ng five sets. Pero kung panalo naman, I guess we’ll take it,” said Cignal head coach Sammy Acaylar. “We’ll work on our errors – medyo naparami kami ng error nung dulo ng fifth set. Baka hindi na kami swertehin pagdating ng sundo ng mga laban.”

UCLA’s Alexis Olgard led all Lady Slammers with 20 points, Bojana Todorovic had 18 markers, while NU’s Myla Pablo added 17 points.

The HD Spikers (2-0) will take on the Meralco Power Spikers (0-2) at the Cuneta Astrodome on Saturday, while the Lady Slammers (0-1) have the Petron Blaza Spikers (1-1) on the same day and venue.

The Scores

Cignal (3) – Usher 30, Anderson 18, Gallenero 7, Laborte 5, Vivas 5, Tiu 5, Mandapat 2, Hingpit 2, Enclona (L), Dionela (L)

Philips (2) – Olgard 20, Todorovic 18, Pablo 17, Dadang 5, Gumabao 3, Dowd 2, Espelita 0, Yongco 0, Gohing (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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