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(C) Jem Ferrer/Spikers Turf

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Spikers Turf: Criss Cross stages epic comeback to gain Finals slot, ends Cignal’s streak


Criss Cross defied the odds, crawling back from a 0-2 deficit to snap defending champion Cignal’s 10-game winning streak, 18-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-22, 17-15, and make it to the finals of the 2024 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

After a flat start that saw them trail 0-2 early in the match, the King Crunchers turned things around in the third set. That revived their finals dreams while finishing the round-robin semifinals with a 2-1 record.

With the victory, Criss Cross set up a date with Cignal – their third in this conference – in the best-of-three finals which will begin on Wednesday, 6:00 PM, at the same venue.

ST-2024-Semis-Cignal-vs.-Criss-Cross-Ish-Polvorosa-2 Spikers Turf: Criss Cross stages epic comeback to gain Finals slot, ends Cignal's streak News Spikers' Turf Volleyball  - philippine sports news

(C) Jem Ferrer/Spikers Turf

“Nung third set nga, bago mag-start yung third set, napag-usapan sa huddle namin na ie-enjoy na lang namin yung game namin. Manalo o matalo, 100 percent kami para at least no regrets,” said Criss Cross outside hitter Marck Espejo.

After forcing a fifth set, the King Crunchers found themselves trailing the HD Spikers, 11-12, after JP Bugaoan nailed a quick attack.

Espejo then fired a cross-court hit, igniting a 3-0 swing which put Criss Cross at match point, 14-12. Bryan Bagunas kept Cignal alive before an attack error from Ysay Marasigan knotted things up at 14.

The former Ateneo star scored over three blockers, but Bagunas would not give up. He scored from the back to tie the game anew at 15.

That, however, proved the end for the reigning champs.

Espejo converted a backrow hit, before Kim Malabunga roofed Bagunas for the win.

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“Ayun, nung third set, may naghihintay lang talaga na mag-spark na mag-enjoy kami sa loob ng court. Yun, lahat naman nag-step up, nasabayan ng performance, yun yung Criss Cross na sistema,” said Espejo.

ST-2024-Semis-Cignal-vs.-Criss-Cross-Bagunas-Espejo Spikers Turf: Criss Cross stages epic comeback to gain Finals slot, ends Cignal's streak News Spikers' Turf Volleyball  - philippine sports news

(C) Jem Ferrer/Spikers Turf

Espejo had his best performance in a Criss Cross uniform, unloading 28 points on 21 attacks, four aces, and three blocks.

Meanwhile, Jude Garcia backstopped him with 20 points to go along with 15 excellent receptions.

On the other hand, Bagunas’ conference-high of 38 points – 34 from attacks – went down the drain.

The HD Spikers will head to the best-of-three finals carrying their first loss of the conference.

Jau Umandal ended up with 15 points, while Bugaoan had 13 markers.

Cignal ended the semis with a 2-1 record as well.

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