CIGNAL closed in on the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference finals after dispatching Iloilo, 25-17, 25-16, 25-19, for its second straight win in the round-robin semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum Friday.
The HD Spikers, who swept the 10-game eliminations in emphatic fashion, set out to complete another romp against Cotabato on Monday for formalize their stint in the championship. They also trampled the Imus AJAA Spikers in three at the start of semis last Wednesday for a total of six points.
The D’Navigators, who earlier subdued the Cotabato Spikers, also via sweep, fell to 1-1 worth three points.
“It always boils down to preparation, so we prepared hard,” Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor said. “I told the boys how resilient our opponents are so we just need to be more resilient.”
Jade Disquitado and Nas Gwaza went back-to-back to open the match but that proved to be the best that Iloilo could dish out as Cignal countered with a huge run on its way to a 19-9 bulge. The powerhouse HD Spikers were never threatened from them although the D’Navigators kept it close in brief stretches in the next two frames.
Ahead by just three midway through the second, 15-12, Cignal came through with another blazing run capped by Espejo and JP Bugaoan’s block off Disquitado and Gwaza, respectively.
Iloilo did keep Cignal within sight in the third, 16-17, but Ysay Marasigan, Chu Njigha, and Bugaoan combined for another strong finishing kick to claim the win in the same fashion the HD Spikers had ripped their rivals in the run-up to the semis.
Espejo dazzled with 13 points and 15 excellent receptions while Bugaoan and Marasigan backed him up with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Wendel Miguel added eight points and eight digs while EJ Casaña tossed 19 excellent sets for the still-undefeated HD Spikers.
Cignal can advance to the finals outright if the AMC-Cotabato-Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography match at presstime goes to five sets.
Otherwise, the HD Spikers would still have to hurdle the Cotabato Spikers, whom they also clobbered in the elims.
Iloilo, on the other hand, will face Imus next, looking for a victory and the second finals seat.
Disquitado and Toto De Pedro paced the D’Navigators with 12 points apiece with the latter adding 19 excellent receptions five digs.