CIGNAL steps up its drive for another Spikers’ Turf Open Conference championship against three rivals it thumped in its dominant eliminations run, facing Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography first in the round robin semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum Wednesday.
The powerhouse HD Spikers crushed the AJAA Spikers and the two other semifinalists—the Cotabato Spikers and the Iloilo Navigators—via three-set romps en route to sweeping the qualifiers. And though the Final Four stage is a different phase, Cignal is expected not only to flaunt its superb hitting prowess but also raise the level of its play a notch higher.
“Every game is a must-win. It’s a round-robin series, every set and every game we must be precise,” Cignal coach Dexter Clamor said. “
The 2022 champions take on the AJAA Spikers, who actually ranked No. 4 after the eliminations, at 3 p.m. at a bigger venue.
AMC-Cotabato finished second and Iloilo wound up No. 3.
Marck Espejo is again tipped to lead Cignal’s assault along with Wendell Miguel, Alfred Valbuena and skipper Ysay Marasigan while Ish Polvorosa, Kim Malabunga, Francis Saura and Hero Austria will spearhead the AJAA Spikers’ bid sans top gun Bryan Bagunas
Meanwhile, the Cotabato Spikers, made up of national team stars led by Jau Umandal, Jayvee Sumagaysay, and Steven Trotter, battle the D’Navigators at 5:30 p.m., carrying the momentum of their four-set win over the latter on the final eliminations day last Sunday.
Despite the loss, however, the D’Navigators remain a top contender with the crisp-hitting Jade Disquitado raring to get going again after unleashing a game-high 24 points on 20 attacks, three service aces and a block the last time out.
Cotabato head coach Odjie Mamon, meanwhile, said the team’s finals bid will get a big boost as Edward Camposano and Johnvic De Guzman are close to returning to action after being sidelined by injuries.
“We have kept the winning mindset and hopefully by Wednesday ma-activate na rin yung mga players na na-sideline due to various injuries,” Mamon said.