By: Jonash Dannug
Coming into the game with an ax to grind, the Cignal HD Spikers dumped defending champions and arch-rivals Philippine Air Force-Go for Gold Jet Spikers in three sets, 25-18, 25-20, 25-14, in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference at the Paco Arena, Sunday.
National team pool member Marck Especjo led Cignal – who are now second in the standings with a 3-0 card – with 15 points. Meanwhile, team skipper Ysay Marasigan chipped in nine.
The HD Spikers established control of the game early, as Espejo and Marasigan took turns attacking the Jet Spikers’ defense.
“Siguro, swerte kami dahil kulang sila ng player. Wala si [Bryan] Bagunas tsaka [Madz] Gampong,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor. “Pero sabi ko nga sa kanila, kahit kulang, dapat mag trabaho talaga. And good thing, kahit sinong ipasok sa kanila, talagang nagpe-perform.”
Air Force missed the services of Bryan Bagunas, who is currently playing for Japanese club team Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler – the same team that Espejo previously played for.
Ranran Abdilla scored 12 points for Air Force, who suffered their first loss of the conference in three tries.
Earlier in the day, the Philippine Army Troopers snatched their third-straight game with a five-set victory against the lowly Easytrip-Raimol, 25-23, 17-25, 22-25, 25-16, 15-10.
PJ Rojas came through again for Army when they needed him the most. He scored 21 huge points built on 18 attacks, two aces, and a block, while Joel Villonson added eight points.
After taking a tight first stanza, Philippine Army succumbed to errors in the second and third sets that put them behind. The Troopers regrouped in the fourth set to send the game to a deciding stanza.
“Actually nahirapan ako. Hindi ko alam kung paano ko sisimulan and saan ako mag-uumpisa. Lagi kong sinasabi kung kailangan dominahin na namin ‘yung laro, kung sino ‘yung papalo, sino ‘yung magbo-block, yun ang gusto kong manyari,” lamented Army head coach Rico De Guzman.
Villonson put the Raimol-backed squad out for good with a clutch block in the fifth set, lifting Army to third place in the standings.
Red Christensen scored 16 points, while Milover Parcon added 13 for Easytrip, who fell to 0-3.
In the last game of the day, the Animo Green Spikers drubbed the Sta. Elena Ball Hammers, 25-23, 25-18, 25-22.
Animo rose to 2-1 while evening Sta. Elena’s slate to 2-2.
Billie Anima scored 10 points while Cris Dumago added nine points for the Green Spikers.
On the other hand, Sta. Elena – who only fielded in nine players – were led by UAAP Rookie of the Year Nico Almendras with 15 points built on 13 attacks and two blocks.
“The boys played a much better game. However, I can’t deny the fact that’s Sta. Elena is not complete. So I think we just took the advantage and luckily, we were able to match our game from the last game,” said Animo head coach Arnold Laniog.
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