Cignal secured the second seed after handing National University-Sta. Elena its first loss, 25-22, 25-22, 25-22, on the final day of the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference eliminations, Tuesday at the Paco Arena.
Marck Espejo finished with a game-high 17 points – all coming from attacks – along with 19 excellent receptions and five digs to help the HD Spikers take the second spot off a 5-1 standing.
“Siguro dahil napaghandaan lang namin nang maigi yung Sta. Elena. Nag-perform nang maigi lalo na yung setter (Owen Suarez) and of course si Marck (Espejo)… Iba yung mga intangible works na ‘di talaga nakikita sa stats, so it matters e,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor.
“Yung oneness namin sa loob ng court nandoon. Siguro maganda lang talaga yung pineform namin,” he added.
With the HD Spikers up by four, 18-22, Nico Almendras poured three points in a 4-1 run that pulled the Nationals to within two late in the third set. However, all of that went four naught, as he committed two consecutive errors which handed Cignal the game.
Ysay Marasigan poured 12 points for the defending champions, while Louie Ramirez and JP Bugaoan had 10 and eight markers, respectively.
Owen Suarez delivered 20 excellent sets. Manuel Sumanguid collected 19 receptions and 10 digs.
On the other hand, NU-Sta.Elena was led by rookie Michael Buddin with 14 points and eight excellent receptions. Almendras added 13, while Kennry Malinis chipped in 10.
Cignal and NU-Sta. Elena will go at it once again when they open their respective semifinal bids on Thursday at 5:30 PM.