Cignal continued its hot start, cruising to its third straight sets win in a row, this time against Philippine Air Force, 25-22, 25-16, 27-25, in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, Friday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The HD Spikers matched Iloilo and AMC-Cotabato at the top of the 11-team field with clean 3-0 records.
JP Bugaoan starred for Cignal with 16 points on 13 spikes, two blocks, and a service ace, while Ysay Marasigan added 10 points.
“We are now in a load management when it comes sa mga players namin ngayon lalo na ang liga ay mahaba pa, maraming games at sa program namin ngayon patapos pa lang kami sa strength the reason why nagpapalit palit kami ng tao,” shared HD Spikers head coach Dexter Clamor, who used all but one of his 14 players.
“Medyo dumikit,may mga player din kaming hindi naipasok katulad ni Marck. Actually it boils down sa team chemistry saka ‘yung championship experience namin kaya kahit down by two kami nung third, they were able to finish nang maayos ‘yung laro,” he continued as top gunner Marck Espejo did not play due to load management.
The Airmen reached 24-22 in the third set on a Ranran Abdilla crosscourt kill, but Cignal saved three set points to extend the frame at 25-all.
Then Abdilla’s backrow attempt caught only the tape of the net before Bugaoan denied Edwin Tolentino to seal the deal for the HD Spikers.
Wendel Miguel, who was responsible for Cignal’s comeback in the final period, chipped in eight points, while Peter Torres and Alfred Valbuena had six and five points, respectively.
Abdilla paced Air Force, which fell to 1-3 at ninth, with 15 points, nine excellent receptions, and four digs, while Tolentino got 10 points.
Both teams will return on Wednesday as Air Force squares off against VNS at 3 pm, while Cignal battles PGJC-Navy at 5:30 pm.