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Retooled Cignal avoids early upset, escapes Bounty Fresh

Adding powerful UAAP talents, Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference champions Cignal HD Spikers bucked a slow start and thwarted a hungry Bounty Fresh Soaring Griffins 25-18, 23-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10 in ther opening match of the Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Cignal overpowered their fors to open the match with a convincing set win. Signs of rust and a lack of chemistry, however, became apparent in the next two sets. Bounty Fresh kept the second set close and capitalized on Cignal’s reception miscues down the stretch to tie the match at a set apiece. The third set played out the same way with Cignal surrendering crucial errors to hand Bounty fresh the lead in the match, 2-1.

The HD Spikers were again on the ropes in the fourth set, down 19-20. But middle blocker Herschel Ramos came to the rescue through his serves that dumbfounded the Bounty Fresh back line. Bounty Fresh had no choice but to give up free balls or go for weak attacks which Cignal’s tall blockers easily stifled. Cignal won six of the next seven points to force a fifth set.

Bounty Fresh had the match in control, leading the fifth set 8-6. But Cignal became stingy with their errors and tightened up their net defense for the final stretch. With their opponents on overdrive, Bounty Fresh could not keep up. UAAP Season 78 Finals MVP Ysay Marasigan turned in huge plays which includes a monstrous single block on Pemi Bagalay that gave them a 12-10 lead. Bounty Fresh heeded their final timeout at that point but gave up two errors that ended the match.

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Marasigan topped all scorers in his Spikers’ Turf debut with 20 points, on 16 attacks and four blocks. UAAP Best Scorer Raymark Woo added 14, Herschel Ramos managed 13, while Edmar Bonono contributed 11.

“Before this match, wala talagang ka-tune up itong team ko kaya ineexpect talaga naming mga coaches na may kalawang pa talaga,” said Cignal head coach Michael Cariño who added that the inclusion of star collegiate players reworked his team’s chemistry.

“Mabuti na nga na ganito yung una naming laban kasi nakita namin kung paano mag-respond yung team sa mahirap na situations.”

Bounty Fresh’s two former UST Tigers, Jason Sarabia and Romnick Rico carried their offense with 15 points apiece. FEU Tamaraw Jeric Gacutan added 11, while Mapua standout Pemi Bagalay managed 10.

Cignal (1-0) has a tough foe ahead on Saturday, June 4 at the Filoil Flying V Centre wen they face the Air Force Airmen, whom they took down in the Reinforced Conference last year.

Mabuti na ngang ngayon namin sila makakalaban kasi malamang nag-aadjust pa sila, kami nakapag-adjust na. Advantage na sa amin na sa laban namin sila magsisimula pa lang,” Cariño closed.

On the other hand, the Soaring Griffins (0-1) look to bounce back as they face the same team on Wednesday, June 11.

The Scores:

Cignal (3) – Marasigan 20, Woo 14, Ramos 13, Bonono 11, Faytaren 6, Capate 3, Castel 3, Lansangan 2, Mangulabnan 2, Diezmo 1, Dela Cruz 0, Calasin 0, Montero (L)

Bounty Fresh (2) – Rico 15, Sarabia 15, Bagalay 10, David 2, Asia 2, Mallapre 0, Ocampo 0, Manalang 0, Ortega 0, Apostol (L)

Written By

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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