Mentally and physically drained, Cignal soldiered on and showcased its depth to survive Adamson-Davies Paints in five grueling sets, 18-25, 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 15-10, to clinch the top spot in Pool A of the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference, Sunday at the Paco Arena.
The HD Spikers, who have been playing non-stop volleyball for four days straight, mustered all their strength to fend off the upset-seeking Soaring Falcons and complete its sweep of the group phase with a 5-0 record.
“We’re too tired. Please quote that. We’re too tired. It’s our second hell week. Last week ilang games kami, apat. This week apat na games. Yesterday we are physically and mentally drained because of our championship last night,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor as the team came off a rough five-set loss to UST in the PNVF Challenge Cup finals yesterday.
“We’re too tired pero proud ako sa mga batang ‘to na kahit pagod na pagod na pagod na pagod na, nilaban nila. Sobrang nilaban nila. Sobrang proud ako sa mga bata na ‘to,” added the player-turned-coach.
A set away from securing the win in four sets, the HD Spikers crumbled in the latter part of the frame as Jude Aguilar, John Gay, and Francis Casas took turns in a momentum-shifting 5-0 run that allowed Adamson to take a 22-20 edge.
Wendel Miguel and JP Bugaoan tried to patch things up for Cignal but it was not enough as the Soaring Falcons secured the crucial fourth set win to send the game to a decider.
Things did not look good for the HD Spikers to start the fifth as Adamson zoomed in on a quick 6-2 advantage that turned to an 8-5 lead to try and bury them early in the final set.
However, EJ Casana managed to connect on an off the block hit, which included two consecutive emphatic blocks from Bugaoan on Gay, that put the Cignal in the driver’s seat, 10-8.
Francis Casas stopped the bleeding, followed by an error from Casana, but the Bugaoan-led HD Spikers took off from there and went on a 5-0 finishing kick to end the game after an hour and 16 minutes of thrilling action in the tournament organized by Sports Vision.
“Natapos na namin yung elimination round, going to quarterfinals of course we will get some time na makapagpahinga, makapagrecover, para kahit papaano we’re ready 100 percent,” said Clamor.
Bugaon took charge with 23 points on 17 attacks, three blocks, and three aces while Peter Torres tallied 14 markers in the victory.
Mark Calado contributed 11 points in a three-set stint while Jau Umandal, who hurt his left knee after diving for the ball late in the fourth which caused him to miss the entire decider, had 10 points, seven excellent receptions, and six excellent digs.
Casana glued things together with 23 excellent sets to go along with four points built on three blocks while Manuel Sumaguid manned the floor with 12 excellent receptions and 11 excellent digs.
On the other hand, Adamson, who now holds a 3-2 record, will now await the outcome of Saints and Lattes-Letran (3-1) against Philippine Coast Guard to know its fate.
Casas paced the Soaring Falcons with 21 points while Gay added 16 points and 11 excellent receptions. Aguilar and Leo Coguimbal added 13 points apiece in a losing effort.
Earlier, Xentro Mall-EAC capped off its campaign in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference with a 25-13, 27-25, 25-14 victory over fellow NCAA squad The Bayleaf Hotels-LPU in Pool D.
The Generals relied on its powerful attacks to subdue the Pirates in straight sets, which included a tight victory in the extended second frame, to finish the tournament with a 2-3 record.