CIGNAL forged an exciting Spikers’ Turf Open Conference Finals showdown with NU-Sta. Elena with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 win over PGJC-Navy at the end of the semifinals last night at the Paco Arena.
Marck Espejo showed his old fiery self with 16 points, including four blocks, 21 receptions and seven digs as the HD Spikers finished the semis with a 2-1 record.
Greg Dolor and Joeven dela Vega each had nine points for the Sea Lions, who ended up at 1-2.
Jao Umandal, PGJC-Navy’s top hitter who sat out in the first set due to misconduct, finished with five kills.
Earlier, NU-Sta. Elena completed a three-match semifinals sweep following a 25-17, 20-25, 25-21, 27-25 romp of VNS-One Alicia.
The Nationals yielded the second set but were able to regroup and overcame a gallant Griffins stand to extend the match to a decider to enter the championship round on a high note.
“Deserving talaga na makuha ng team yung makuha ang semifinals na lahat panalo. Siyempre, credit sa mga players ko na talagang ginawa nila ang best nila,’ said NU-Sta. Elena head coach Dante Alinsunurin.
“Nakita namin yung nangyari na sistema namin na pinipilit namin sa kanila na ibigay. Nakita nila na mas kapani-paniwala talaga yung na everyday na ginagawa namin. Medyo ung last (semis) game lang, medyo relax lang, pero at least nakuha pa rin namin ang panalo,” he added.
Nico Almendras had another solid outing for the Nationals with 26 points, including two blocks, while Congo’s Obed Mukaba had two service aces for a 14-point outing. Rookie Mike Buddin had two blocks and two service aces to finish with 13 points to go with 18 receptions while setter Josh Retamar tossed in 28 excellent sets.
NU-Sta. Elena and Cignal open their best-of-three finals starting at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow.
Kevin Montemayor had 13 points, including two blocks, Ben San Andres had 12 kills, 19 receptions and seven digs, Michael Doria also hammered 12 kills while Uriel Mendoza was the other VNS player in twin digits with 11 points. Setter Ish Polvorosa also tallied two blocks to go with 18 excellent receptions.
The Griffins will go up against the loser of the last semifinals match between the Sea Lions for third place beginning at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow.
VNS reached set point twice, but saw its bid to send the match to a fifth set after committing three straight errors to close out the one-hour, 52-minute contest.