Cignal gave Japanese guest team Maruichi a rude welcome, taking a dominant 25-17, 25-20, 25-19 win to stay spotless in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference semifinals, Friday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The HD Spikers now hold a 2-0 record in the round-robin semis and are yet to drop a single set after a straight-sets win against Sta. Elena-National University as well on Wednesday.
“Sabi ko nga nung Wednesday we don’t have any data sa Maruichi so pinaghandaan lang namin maigi kung paano kami maglaro, pinolish lang namin yung lapses namin for the previous games,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor after the 79-minute match.
Maruichi, a selection of collegiate players from the Hyogo region in Japan, actually managed to get a 4-1 start in the third frame.
However, the HD Spikers were too experienced as they climbed back through the efforts of Jau Umandal, who delivered three straight aces on different varieties – one with the help of the net, one on a strong serve, and one on a short service – to give his side a 12-8 lead before cruising to the 25-19 clincher.
Umandal finished with 12 points on eight attacks, three aces, and a block while JP Bugaoan had 11 points including five blocks.
Yuji Kawagoe led the youthful Hyogo with 15 points on 13 spikes, a block, and a service ace. Team captain Hinata Kuroda added 10 points.
Cignal will have two days off before plunging back to action on Monday against Perpetual-Kinto Tyres on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at the Philsports Arena.
Maruichi, on the other hand, will play tomorrow at 11 a.m. opposite Saints and Lattes-Letran at the same Pasig venue.