HD Spikers eye sweep, finals; 3 others battle for No. 2


CIGNAL faces Cotabato seeking to cap its unbeaten run from the eliminations to the finals while Iloilo goes all-out against winless Imus for a crack at the other championship berth in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

The round robin semifinals end Monday with the HD Spikers keen on reasserting their mastery of the Cotabato Spikers, stretching their streak to 13 and formalizing their highly anticipated stint in the finals.

They swept them in the eliminations but top hitter Marck Espejo stressed there’s no reason for the HD Spikers to take the Cotabato Spikers lightly.

“May isa pa kaming game at kailangan pa rin naming gawin yung best naming para tuloy-tuloy na,” said Espejo, who dropped 13 points in their domination of the Iloilo D’Navigators last Friday following a similar straight-set romp over the Imus AJAA Spikers.

Game time is at 5:30 with Cignal also vowing to sustain its form against Cotabato to free itself of any barrier in the event three teams would end up with 2-1 (win-loss) slates.

But with two easy wins worth six points, the HD Spikers can still get into the finals even with a five-set loss as the Cotabato Spikers and the D’Navigators could only finish with six points at best.

Still, Cotabato believes it can stop Cignal’s emphatic run.

“Do-or-die sa amin, so ibibigay naming yung 100 percent. Pagbubutihan pa namin at talagang ta-tyagain namin every point,” said Cotabato main man Jau Umandal, who fired 20 points and finished with nine excellent receptions against the AJAA Spikers.

Iloilo, meantime, hopes to stay in the hunt for the second finals slot as it takes on Imus at 3 p.m.

A sweep by the D’Navigators over the AJAA Spikers, coupled with the HD Spikers’ victory over the Cortabato Spikers, will net the former a spot in the finals of the country’s premier men’s volley league organized by Sports Vision.

But Iloilo’s Jade Disquitado and returning skipper Jerome Cordez, along with the rest, must work doubly hard to post a convincing win over the AJAA Spikers, who also have an outside chance to break into the finals.

A straight-set win by Imus coupled with Cignal’s sweep over Cotabato will force a three-way tie for second at 1-2. The No. 2 will be determined via set ratio and points ratio, respectively.

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