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Tiebreaker Times


Espejo says set loss to NU felt like a defeat altogether

After missing the opportunity to write history in the eliminations, Marck Espejo and the rest of the Cignal HD Spikers made sure to keep their eyes on the prize come the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference semifinals.

The HD Spikers were on track to become the first team in league history to sweep all of its matches in the elimination round prior to their final match-up against National University-Archipelago Builders last Sunday.

Cignal got the job done in the first two sets but the Volley Builders refused to be swept, taking a 23-25 win in the third set that spoiled the HD Spikers’ date with history.

The former eventually ended the game in four sets, 25-18, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22, to complete its sweep of the eliminations but even the win could not hide the frustration on the team’s face as they missed out on a rare opportunity that was already handed to them on a silver platter.ST-2023-Semis-Cignal-vs.-Imus-Marck-Espejo-4288 Espejo says set loss to NU felt like a defeat altogether News Spikers' Turf Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Siguro nung time na yun kasi parang after nung game, yung feeling namin para kaming natalo nung game,” recalled Espejo.

Espejo shared that the team immediately talked about it right after the match and they all agreed to move on and not allow the missed chance to veer them away from their main goal which is to reclaim the Open Conference crown.

“Nung nasa dugout kami pinag-usapan namin na parang wake up call siguro yun na mas okay na na matalo [ng set] sa eliminations kesa matalo ng ganun sa semifinals kasi mahirap maka-recover kasi sunod sunod na yung games and ayun, ang main goal naman namin is yung mag-champion this conference,” the five-time UAAP MVP said.

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On Wednesday, the HD Spikers went right back on track and kick-started their semis drive with a 25-23, 25-19, 25-15 sweep of Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography – proving that nothing can distract them from retaining the crown they lost.

Espejo finished with a game-high 19 points on an efficient 15-of-25 attacking clip and four huge blocks as Cignal took the early lead in the round-robin playoffs.

“Masaya kami kasi panalo pero nung first set and second set parang hindi naman sa nag-relax pero nabigla kami sa ginalaw ng Imus, narattle kami kasi nakakareceive sila and ‘di namin mapigilan yung mga combinations nila,” said Espejo.

“Wala naman talaga kaming totally binago. Baka siguro lumamang lang kami sa mga break points and parang yung Imus siguro medyo nawala na sila sa rhythm. Sa amin naman medyo nag-tuloy-tuloy kami and ayun, kaya medyo lumayo yung score.”

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