Fresh off a heartwrenching defeat to F2 Logistics, which dashed its hopes of a title, Cignal refused to close out its 2019 PSL Invitationals campaign without being on the podium, Thursday.
Behind their strong offensive connection, the HD Spikers salvaged a bronze medal at the expense of the Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy, 25-22, 25-15, 25-17, in the kill-or-be-killed duel for third at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City.
“Medyo meron silang hugot. Sa mga nangyari, sa mga nakaraang laro nila. Ito ‘yung dapat nilang patunayan, na dapat nandoon din sila sa championship. Kaya ganun laro nila,” Cignal head coach Edgar Barroga said.
Save for a critical juncture in the opening frame — where Cignal whittled away Foton’s commanding lead to take a one-set buffer in come-from-behind fashion — the HD Spikers barely felt any resistance down the stretch en route to a third-place finish.
Alohi Robins-Hardy proved herself the difference-maker in the match. The Swiss army knife of Cignal dealt damage with 10 points built on three kill blocks and three service aces. She also shouldered the playmaking duties with 14 excellent sets.
Roselyn Doria top-billed with 11 markers, pounding in three rejections and a pair of aces. Cignal skipper Rachel Daquis supplied 10 points, while Mylene Paat chimed in nine markers to go along with eight excellent digs.
Ranya Musa and Jannine Navarro were also pivotal in the victory, contributing six points apiece. Meanwhile, Jovelyn Gonzaga saw limited action, only playing in the third frame to finish with four markers.
“Happy pa rin kami kasi… ‘Di man namin nakuha ‘yung championship o nakapaglaro sa championship, napakita pa rin ng bawat isa kung ano ‘yung napaghirapan namin,” Barroga added.
Marian Buitre spearheaded Foton’s charge with nine points. No player graced twin-digit territory for the Tornadoes.
Mina Aganon tallied seven markers, while Shaya Adorador and Elaine Kasilag were limited to five. EJ and Eya Laure also had subpar performances with four and two points, respectively.
Meanwhile, CJ Rosario sustained a sprained left knee early in the third set due to a bad landing. She did not return in the match, finishing with one point.