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Philips survives five-set slobber knocker with Cignal



With both teams in desperate need of a validating win, the Philips Gold Lady Slammers squeezed past the Cignal HD Spikers in five sets, 25-19, 23-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-10, avenging their first round loss, in the second round of eliminations of the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Down two sets to one, Philips Gold turned to their best attackers, Michele Gumabao and Myla Pablo, to bring them to their fourth win. Pablo led all scorers with 22 points, while Gumabao contributed 21 markers.

Philips got off to a proper start as their sound defense and serving garnered them a 10-5 lead. Their lead grew to 20-14 as Cignal couldn’t find their offense. Philips let a late set Cignal surge led by Jeanette Panaga go through, giving the HD Spikers momentum, though they dropped the set.

Philips built a four-point advantage midway through the second set, 12-8, which was quickly erased when they let out a torrent of errors. Cignal climbed all the way back, taking the lead momentarily at 22-21. A Myla Pablo cross-court hit knotted the set at 22, but Philips gave up two attack errors down the stretch to let Cignal steal the set.

Halfway through the third frame, the Lady Slammers were up by a sizeable margin once more. Gumabao scored five straight attacks to give Philips a 20-15 lead. From there, Philips fell apart, scoring only two points as their attacking and reception dissipated. Down 18-22, Jeanette Panaga’s serving keyed a 7-0 run that placed her team at a distinct 2-1 set advantage.

Philips became frugal with their errors in the following sets and tightened up their reception. In the fourth set, they built an early five-point lead 7-2, and made sure they scored whenever Cignal served, to protect the lead. Cignal tried to recover when they tied the set at 14, but their own errors and Myla Pablo’s powerful attacking thwarted their bid. A Momay Vivas service error sent the match into a deciding fifth set.

It was all Philips in the final set as Michele Gumabao fired six points off beautiful attacks to pull her team to a second straight win. Furthermore, Gumabao rattled off the last four Philips points punctuated by a block on Mervic Mangui.

Cignal stays at the bottom of the heap with a 1-5 record. Philips moves up to third with a 3-4 slate.

The Scores:

Philips Gold (3) – Pablo 22, Gumabao 21, Dadang 8, Adorador 8, Mea 6, Malaluan 4, Fajardo 3, Tolenada 2, Gohing (L)

Cignal (2)– Panaga 15, Vivas 13, Navarro 12, Clemente 10, Tunay 7, Mangui 2, Bravo 1, Nepumuceno 1, Ancheta 0, Segodine 0, Enclona (L), Dionela (L)

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.