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Monday, May 20, 2024

HD Spikers, Nationals step up finals’ drive

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Cignal and National University try to solidify their positions and move closer to a potential title showdown as they face opponents still in seach of their first win with two playdates left in the semifinal round of the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig on Monday.

The HD Spikers cranked up their pace after sweeping the pool elims play, shutting down the Sta. Elena-NU Nationals and the Maruichi Hyogo side to seize the solo lead in the five-team semis phase of the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

The Open Conference champions take on the winless Perpetual-Kinto Tyres Altas at 3:30 p.m., looking to extend their run and move closer to another championship appearance.

Like Cignal, National U expects to stamp its class over Maruichi Hyogo in their 5:30 p.m. encounter after the Japanese guest squad dropped its first two games against Cignal and Letran.

Despite their edge in manpower and experience, Cignal coach Dexter Clamor recognizes the challenges posed by the Altas, particularly their coach Sammy Acaylar, his former mentor.

“Paghahandaan namin ang Perpetual. I know Perpetual lalo na si coach Sammy (Acaylar) na mentor ko. I know how strong they are and kung paano sila mag-prepare for us din kasi kilalang kilala ko na ‘yan at mga players nila,” said Clamor.

JP Bugaoan, Wendell Miguel and Jau Umandal are expected to lead Cignal’s charge again while the Altas, headed by Louie Ramirez, are determined to stave off elimination.

The Nationals, on the other hand, rebounded from that crushing setback to the HD Spikers with a four-set win over the Saints and Lattes-Letran and a straight-set romp over the Altas to tie the Saints Spikers at second with 2-1 slates.

NU coach Dante Alinsunurin, who is also competing in the semis of the Premier Volleyball League Second All-Filipino Conference with Choco Mucho, has underscored the importance of rest and scouting in their one-day break before facing Japanese team.

“Kailangan din mag-pahinga. Nag-scout kami kung ano yung mga dapat namin gawin,” said Alinsunurin.

With Michaelo Buddin still out due to an ankle sprain, Jade Disquitado, Nico Almendras and the rising Leo Ordiales will spearhead the Nationals’ offense while the hard-hitting Yuji Kawagoe, who dropped 24 points against the Saints Spikers, aims to revive Maruichi Hyogo’s flickering finals hopes in the tournament backed by Bola.TV, Beyond Active Wear, ASICS and Mikasa.

Games can be streamed live on and Pilipinas Live and telecast on OneSports and OneSportsPlus.


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