Cignal displayed its dominance in the first two sets but needed to rally and steal the third set in a wild finish as the HD Spikers downed the Vince Himzon-less Saints and Lattes-Letran, 25-16, 25-14, 25-23, to wrest solo control in Pool C of the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference at the Paco Arena on Friday.
After a virtual cruise in the first two sets, the HD Spikers found a surprisingly tough Letran side in the third and fell behind by as many as five points, 3-8. Though they fought back to make it close, they still trailed by a point late in the frame, 22-23.
But Chu Njigha came through with a quick kill to tie the game and Cignal’s luck turned when an over-received ball by Sandy Montero off a stinging Letran blast that looked headed to sailing way past the baseline instead landed in the corner, putting the HD Spikers at match point and frustrating the Knights no end.
Njigha hammered another quick kill to snatch the set and clinch the victory.
“Medyo slow start nung third set. Lack of energy, lack of intensity. It’s a good thing na nanalo kami,” said Cignal coach Dexter Clamor.
The HD Spikers improved to 2-0 following a similar sweep of Santa Rosa while the Knights dropped to 1-1 for third.
All but two of the 14 Cignal players fielded in scored at least a point with Ysay Marasigan and JP Bugaoan finishing with eight points apiece and Lloyd Josafat and Jau Umandal adding seven and six points, respectively.
Steven Sta. Maria had eight points for the Knights, while Derrick Bautista and Christer Ambrocio matched seven-point outputs.
The Knights missed the services of Himzon, who was indisposed after scoring 15 points in a 25-21, 25-18, 25-16 victory over the Santa Rosa City Lions.