Marck Espejo unloaded a 28-hit game as Cignal HD fought back from 1-2 set down and dethroned Go For Gold-Air Force, 26-24, 21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-7, to capture the Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference crown via sweep at Paco Arena in Manila last Sunday.
The power-hitting Espejo came through with 25 attack points to rally the HD Spikers past the Jet Spikers, who had appeared headed to forcing a sudden death in their best-of-three series after recovering from a first set setback with victories in the next two frames.
But Espejo, who later clinched the Finals MVP honors, teamed up with Jude Garcia, skipper Ysay Marasigan and Rex Intal in the fourth as the HD Spikers outlasted the Jet Spikers then they took six of the first eight points in the decider on their way to the championship.
Cignal HD took Game One, 19-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-21.
It was the HD Spikers’ fourth title in the league organized by Sports Vision and first for coach Dexter Clamor. Cignal HD also topped the 2015 Reinforced, 2017 Reinforced, and 2017 Open conferences.
Meanwhile, PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters took the bronze after edging the Sta. Elena Ball Hammers in the quotient wars. PLDT won Game One, 25-22, 25-22, 30-32, 25-18, but yielded the next, 22-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 10-15.
Bryan Bagunas tried to keep the Jet Spikers in the match with a kill for a 6-12 count but Intal scored on a quick hit then Espejo fired two back-to-back kills to all but put the outcome beyond doubt.
Jude Garcia added 19 markers while Marasigan and Bugaoan chipped in 13 points apiece.
Vince Mangulaban produced 35 excellent sets while Manuel Sumanguid came up with 19 receptions and 16 digs.
Bagunas led Air Force with 25 points while season MVP Ranran Abdilla added 17 markers.