Cignal is back in familiar territory as it sets up a best-of-three Finals duel with AMC-Cotabato for the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference crown starting on Wednesday.
The HD Spikers have yet to lose a game this season, going 10-0 in the eliminations before sweeping the round-robin semifinals for a clean 13-0 mark.
This is also their fourth straight Finals appearance.
But for Cignal main gunner Marck Espejo, that immaculate record doesn’t mean anything without the championship. They know the job is not yet done.
“Hindi pa tapos yung conference, meron pang Finals we’ll work on it and I hope na ma-grab na namin this time,” said Espejo after the HD Spikers beat the Cotabato Spikers in four sets on Monday evening.
“Alam namin itong AMC lalaban sila sa Finals kasi ito ngang game namin sobrang dikit lang. Eyes on the prize,” he added.
Redemption is the theme of Cignal’s campaign this season after National University snagged the crown and denied them of a three-peat last year.
And this time, Espejo and the rest of the HD Spikers have figured out what lacked against the Bulldogs last season, causing them to lose the title.
“Siguro wala last time na meron ngayon ay yung eagerness namin manalo, yung will and alam mo yun, yung passion namin itong volleyball so kailangan namin iregain yung fire namin,” said Espejo, who fired a game-high 20 points on 16 attacks, three aces, and a block along with 15 excellent receptions.
“May mas goal kami ngayon kaysa last time.”
Cignal is eyeing to be the winningest team in Spikers’ Turf history, looking to claim its fourth championship.
And the 13-0 clean slate can help them be motivated against AMC in the Finals at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum according to head coach Dexter Clamor.
It was not just a 13-0 record though as they have only dropped two sets the entire tournament, one against NU and one against the Cotabato Spikers.
“Yung nasweep namin yung elimination round saka semifinals at least yun statement yun at mataas ang morale namin na wala kaming talo. Yun ang motivation namin coming to the championship na may na-gain kaming respeto sa kalaban,” said Clamor.
However, Clamor is aware that his team can still be complacent at times, just like when AMC took third set in their semis matchup.
With it, the HD Spikers mentor has one reminder to his team – be aggressive at all times.
“Mindset namin maging aggressive lang sa lahat ng ginagalaw namin at maging sigurista. Walang complacency sa ginagawa at pagtrabahuhan maigi para makuha yung championship.”