Cignal overpowered fellow title favorites Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22, Friday night in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at a packed Paco Arena in Manila.
Marck Espejo dominated with 18 points on 13 attacks and five service aces to go along with 11 excellent receptions for the 2-0 HD Spikers.
Ysay Marasigan contributed 13 points of his own while JP Bugaoan tallied 10 points in the match that lasted just 1 hour and 26 minutes.
“It boils down talaga sa preparation. It’s all about preparation dahil itong week na ito simula nung Monday, pinag-aralan talaga namin sila lalo na ‘yung set plays nila,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor, whose team won on all scoring departments namely spikes, blocks, and service.
The HD Spikers just stamped their class right from the get-go, building a 15-6 lead in the first set en route to the 25-16 win.
Cignal then raced to a 20-12 advantage in the second but the AJAA Spikers rallied back to inch within two multiple times with the last at 22-24 before Marasigan finished the period with an off-the-block kill.
Imus was there point by point in the third frame, trailing by just a point late, 22-23, but Marasigan came through again with a clutch hit before Louie Ramirez’s spike attempt sailed out to ice the HD Spikers victory.
Ramirez, a member of Cignal last conference, led Imus with 12 points while Hero Austria and Kim Malabunga each netted seven points in their first loss in three outings.
Both Cignal and Imus will be back next Friday with the former facing Philippine Air Force at 5:30 pm, while the latter battles PGJC-Navy early at 3 pm.