Cignal sweeps elims but drops set for first time in Open Conference


CIGNAL failed to complete a 10-game sweep without dropping a set as it needed an extra frame to turn back gritty National University (NU)-Archipelago, 25-18, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22, at the close of eliminations play Sunday in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena.

The HD Spikers moved a frame away from fashioning out a record run but the Volley Builders pounced on their lackluster play in the third and surprised them with a gutsy stand then hung tough in the clutch to blemish their fancied rivals’ card.

“Well, we accepted that we’re really beaten in the third set. We became complacent,” Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor said.

Marck Espejo scored a game-high 16 points on eight attacks, four blocks and four aces and finished with 12 excellent receptions for the HD Spikers, who also drew 13 points from Wendel Miguel and a combined 19-point output from Alfred Valbuena and team captain Ysay Marasigan.

Mac Bandola and Jan Abanilla scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, for NU.

Earlier, Greg Dolor dropped 28 points to power PGJC-Navy to a big 23-25, 32-34, 25-20, 25-22, 15-13 comeback victory against VNS.

Dolor came away with a game-high 27 attacks while adding an ace to highlight the Sealions’ rally from 0-2 deficit for sixth place overall with a 5-5 slate.

The Griffins, however, finished higher than their tormentors at fifth a 6-4 (win-loss) record.

Christian Marcelino backed Dolor with 21 points on 18 attacks and three kill blocks while Sean Victor Pado tossed 10 excellent sets and Bryle Tabuclao tallied 22 excellent receptions and 20 excellent digs.

Sealions head coach Cecile Cruzada, however, rued his wards’ lack of connection against the Griffins that enabled the latter to take the first two sets. But she added she was proud of how the Sealions, who missed a few key players throughout the season, recovered and snatched the victory.

Meanwhile, four players from VNS put in double digits outputs, led by Jeremy Pedrosa and Pemie Bagalay, who finished with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Pedrosa also had 14 excellent digs while Bagalay came through with 28 excellent receptions.

Rocky Motol scored 15 points while Russel Fronda had 13 markers for the Griffins.

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