Cignal smothered Perpetual-Kinto Tyres with another formidable display of volley prowess as the HD Spikers rolled into the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference finals with a 25-15, 25-23, 25-19 victory over the Altas at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City on Monday.
Despite their imposing performance, the HD Spikers found themselves needing to fortify their resolve in the last two sets to put away the Altas and get into the finals carrying a run that stretches back to the Open Conference which they ruled via a 15-game sweep last March.
Wendel Miguel unleashed a 15-point game to bag the game’s top honors even as he acknowledged the team’s momentary dip in energy in the last two sets.
“Our energy was down in the last two sets. So coach told us not to be complacent and increase intensity,” said Miguel, who also posted 12 excellent receptions.
With a 3-0 card, Cignal has secured the first finals seat with still one game left in the round robin five-team semis. Even in the event of a potential three-way tie at 3-1 with the Sta. Elena-NU Nationals and the Letran Saints Spikers, the HD Spikers are poised to clinch the first championship berth with a superior tiebreak score.
Cignal closes out its semis campaign against Letran at 9 a.m. today (Tuesday).
But with their dominant performance in the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision, that included a five-game sweep of the elims, the HD Spikers could be in for another title romp.
Their final challenge lies in the Nationals, who are trying to shore up their own finals drive against the winless Maruichi Hyogo side at presstime. A win by NU, coupled with Cignal’s victory against Letran Tuesday, will arrange a title duel between the league’s top two teams.
“It’s all about preparation and our preparation was great yesterday,” said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor.
Perpetual’s best chance of snagging a set came in the second which it controlled up to the halfway mark before Peter Torres spearheaded a Cignal assault that put the HD Spikers back into the game.
Tied at 23, Altas main man Louie Ramirez committed a costly service error then Jau Umandal threw a soft hit to secure the set – and a 2-0 lead – for the HD Spikers.
Umandal backed Miguel with 13 points and five excellent digs while Torres finished with 10 points and Manuel Sumanguid produced 15 receptions and 12 digs as the HD Spikers also limited their errors to just 12.
The Altas bowed out of the finals race with a 0-3 card. They will play the Japanese guest squad at 11 a.,m., also Tuesday.
Ramirez, who played for Cignal during the 2022 Open, paced the Altas with 16 points and 26 excellent receptions, while Jefferson Marapoc delivered 11 points.