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Philips Gold resoundingly avenges first round loss to Cignal

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Utilizing another balanced effort from their starting rotation, the Philips Gold Lady Slammers claimed the top spot in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, trouncing the Cignal HD Spikers in straight sets, 25-22, 25-14, 25-23, at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

Working off their terrific ball control, Philips Gold built an early four-point lead in the first set and led 16-14 after the second technical timeout. Cignal slowly caught up, tying the match at 19 before Philips again grabbed the lead, 21-19, off a Myla Pablo hit then an Amanda Anderson attack error. Cignal threatened to come back after a timeout, again tying the set at 21 after a lucky first touch return point and an Ariel Usher smash. Philips, however, put the set away, going to Pabo and Todorovic for back-to-back stabs then Micmic Laborte capped the set with a service error.

The second set went swimmingly for Philips Gold. Leading by only two, 8-6, Philips Gold expanded their advantage with Todorovic dropping bombs from the service area and great floor defense. Philips rattled off 12 consecutive points, burying Cignal in an insurmountable lead.

Cignal came out firing in the third set, netting better receptions making way for Ariel Usher and Amanda Anderson to take over offensively. Cignal built a 15-11 lead before Philips mounted their comeback. Stifling Cignal’s attacks at the net and on the floor, Philips chipped away at the deficit, forcing an 18-all tie then hijacking the lead, 21-19 off a Lindsay Dowd dumped set and a Myla Pablo block. Philips protected their lead until the end of the set, which Cignal threw away with late errors.

Philips Gold head coach, Francis Vicente, prior to the match told the media that he thought his team’s locals will be key in today’s match. His wards did not let him down as Myla Pablo scored 13 markers, team captain Michele Gumabao tallied nine points while libero Melissa Gohing and Desiree Dadang provided great defense.

“Talagang malaking bagay ‘yung ginawa nila Myla (Pablo), Michele (Gumabao), pati ni Melissa (Gohing). Sila ‘yung advantage namin against Cignal. Ayaw ko kasing masyadong mag-rely sa mga imports. Pinag-aralan namin ‘yung galaw nila (Cignal). Sa ensayo, sa depensa na lang kami nag-focus,” said Vicente.

UCLA product Bo Todorovic scored a game-high 19 points, USC stalwart Alexis Olgard provided 14 while UC-Davis setter Lindsay Dowd tossed 21 excellent sets and added seven markers to anchor the Philips Gold assault.

With a 7-2 slate, Philps moves to number one in the standings ahead of contenders, Petron, Foton and Cignal. Their final elimination will be on Monday, November 16 at the San Juan Arena against Petron.

Cignal’s imports Amanda Anderson and Ariel Usher towed their team with 14 and 13 markers respectively, but had minimal support from the locals with scoring and defense. They face the floundering Meralco for their final match of the elimination round, also on Monday.

The Scores

Philps Gold (3) – Todorovic 19, Olgard 14, Pablo 13, Gumabao 9, Dowd 7, Dadang 2, Nupomuceno 0, Gohing (L)

Cignal (0) – Anderson 14, Usher 13, Laborte 7, Gallenero 3, Vivas 3, Hingpit 2, Mandapat 1, Ancheta 0, Mullenberg 0, Tiu 0, Enclona (L), Dionela (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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