Marck Espejo’s monster outing powered Cignal’s 25-22, 25-22, 28-26 sweep of AMC-Cotabato in Game One of the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference finals at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Wednesday.
Cignal will try to complete a 14-game sweep on Friday, 5:30 PM at the same venue.
Espejo fired a game-high 26 points on 22 attacks, three aces, and a block for the HD Spikers as they moved closer to reclaiming the Open Conference title after losing to National University in the previous edition.
After taking the first two sets, Cignal and the Cotabato Spikers figured in a tight encounter in the third frame with the latter taking a 24-23 advantage after a Jau Umandal off-speed hit.
Espejo answered back with a back-row attack to extend the set before both teams fought through two more deadlocks. With the scores locked at 26, the former Ateneo star scored off a cross-court attack before Umandal’s back-row attack went out.
“Well, credits sa kanilang lahat. Sabi ko naman it’s really the collective effort ng bawat isa para manalo kami,” said HD Spikers head coach Dexter Clamor.
“Itetest talaga yung character namin, itetest yung system namin, itetest yung patience namin, itetest yung camaraderie ng team, ang maganda dito na-challenge talaga kami at pinakita namin na kahit ano pang pagsubok na pagdadaanan namin, we will work as one,” he added.
JP Bugaoan chipped in 12 points while Wendel Miguel had 12 markers as well along with 17 excellent receptions.
EJ Casana, who just made his first finals appearance, took the game’s top honors with 17 excellent sets on top of four points.
On the other hand, Umandal paced Cotabato with 15 points on 14 attacks and a block along with six excellent receptions and four excellent digs.
Rex Intal and Wewe Medina added seven and six points, respectively, in the loss.