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Spikers Turf: Espejo, Cignal rip Imus for first win in semis


Marck Espejo’s efficient outing powered Cignal’s straight sets win over Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography, 25-23, 25-19, 25-15, in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Wednesday night.

Espejo finished with 19 points off a 15-of-19 attacking clip to go along with four blocks as the HD Spikers moved to 1-0 in the round-robin semifinals.

Team captain Ysay Marasigan fired 13 points on 12 attacks and 1 block while Wendel Miguel and JP Bugaon contributed 10 and eight markers, respectively, in just an hour and 24 minutes of action.

Cignal banked on its net defense against the fourth-seeded AJAA Spikers, converting 14 rejections compared to the latter’s total of five.

“I want to give credit sa mga players ko. I wanna give credit sa kanila, why? Kasi nag-perform sila nang maayos. Even though last game namin panalo kami pero medyo down, we were down kahit na 10-0 kami kasi ayun nga, may history kami na sana nagawa namin,” said HD Spikers head coach Dexter Clamor.

After taking a close first set, Cignal pulled away late in the second salvo with Miguel and Chu Njigha spearheading a six-to-nothing finishing blast that turned a 19-all deadlock to a 25-19 win that put them ahead, 2-0, against Imus.

The HD Spikers stepped on the gas in the third set and led by as much as 11 points, 22-11, after a Njigha off-the-block hit. Cignal never looked back as Bugaoan capped off the win with back-to-back blocks on Janjan Rivera and Francis Saura.

“Sabi ko nga, every game, every set is a must win game kasi kapag round robin may point system e. So if ever ‘man na magkaroon ng tie, at least lalamang agad kami,” added Clamor.

#ReadMore  Tamaraws stamp twice-to-beat ticket, eliminate Green Spikers

Hero Austria finished with a team-high 12 points but was shackled by Cignal’s superb net defense. He only converted 10 out of his 30 attempts from the attack line.

Cignal looks to strengthen its finals return against Iloilo on Friday at 3:00 PM while Imus will try to bounce back against AMC-Cotabato later that day at 5:30 PM at the same venue.

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