Cignal closed in on the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference Finals after making quick work of Iloilo, 25-17, 25-16, 25-19, in the round-robin semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Friday.
The HD Spikers improved to 2-0 with six points, while the D’Navigators fell to 1-1 with three points.
“Well lagi kong sinasabi na it always boils down sa preparation. So nag-prepare lang kami, although short, pero nag-prepare kami nang maigi,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor.
“Sabi ko sa kanila resilient yung kalaban, so we just need to be more resilient. Kasi kung hahayaan lang namin silang magsipag tapos kami relax lang, baka mabaligtad yung resulta,” added Clamor on the Iloilo side which were hot off a sweep of AMC-Cotabato.
The D’Navigators’ Jade Disquitado and Nas Gwaza went back-to-back to open the game but that would be it. The HD Spikers answered with a huge run from many contributors, turning a 0-2 hole into a 19-9 advantage en route to the blowout opener, 25-17.
Ahead by just three midway through the second, 15-12, Cignal ran away with it capped by Espejo and JP Bugaoan’s denial on Disquitado and Gwaza, respectively, on consecutive plays, 25-16.
Iloilo stayed through it in the third salvo, trailing by just a point, 16-17. However, Ysay Marasigan, Chu Njigha, and Bugaoan connived for the finishing kick to sweep the match, 25-19.
Espejo dazzled with 13 points and 15 excellent receptions. Bugaoan and Marasigan came through with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Wendel Miguel also did his job with eight points and eight digs, while EJ Casaña tossed 19 excellent sets for the still-undefeated HD Spikers.
Cignal now hopes that the match between AMC-Cotabato and Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography later today goes to five sets for an instant ticket to the championship round.
If not, the HD Spikers need to take care of Cotabato Spikers on Monday, 5:30 PM, at the same venue to avoid complications for a finals berth.
Iloilo, on the other hand, will face the AJAA Spikers on Monday as well to stay in the hunt.
Disquitado and Toto De Pedro paced the D’Navigators with 12 points apiece, with the latter adding 19 excellent receptions and five digs.