Hot HD Spikers crush AJAA Spikers in semis opener


MARCK ESPEJO’S  efficient game powered Cignal to another straight-set romp over Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography, 25-23, 25-19, 25-15, Wednesday as the HD Spikers kicked off their the finals drive in the same fashion they closed out their sterling eliminations campaign in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

The heavy-hitting Espejo finished with 19 points off a 15-of-19 attacking clip to go along with four blocks while skipper Ysay Marasigan backed him up with 13 points and Wendel Miguel and JP Bugaon added 10 and eight markers, respectively, for the HD Spikers, who wrapped up the victory in one hour and 24 minutes.

Cignal also banked on its net defense to thwart the fourth-seeded AJAA Spikers’ offense, coming through with 14 rejections against their rivals’ five-block output at the start of the round robin semis.

“I want to give credit to the players. Why? Because they performed well, even though last game, we were down,” HD Spikers head coach Dexter Clamor said.

He was referring to his wards’ failed bid to post a record elims sweep without dropping a set after the National U Volley Builders forced them to a four-game duel before yielding, 18-25, 17-25, 25-23, 22-25.

After warding off Imus’ tough stand in the opening frame, Cignal pulled away late in the next with Miguel and Chu Njigha spearheading a decisive 6-0 closing run that shattered a 19-all count.

The HD Spikers then dominated the third and led by as many as 11 points, 22-11, after an Njigha off the block hit. Bugaoan capped Cignal’s romp with back-to-back blocks on Janjan Rivera and Francis Saura.

Hero Austria finished with a team-high 12 points but was shackled by the Cignal’s solid net defense. He only converted 10 out of his 30 attempts from the attack line.

Cignal, meanwhile, guns for win No. 2 against Iloilo at 3 p.m. tomorrow while Imus tries to bounce back against AMC-Cotabato at 5:30 p.m., also at Rizal Coliseum.

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