Cignal and VNS-One Alicia face-off Thursday in a clash of teams that swept their first two games in varying fashions with the solo lead in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at stake at the Paco Arena in Manila.
Gametime is at 2:30 p.m. with the HD Spikers eager to sustain a big start they spiked with back-to-back straight-set romps over the Sta. Rosa City Lions and the Army-Katinko Troopers that netted them a shared view of the top with the Griffins and the idle Sta. Elena Nationals side.
But while Cignal appears to be playing solid and in control, VNS-One Alicia is unfazed, hopeful of stretching its own run fashioned out via five-set escapes over the Ateneo-Fudgee Barr Eagles and the City Lions.
Navy, meanwhile, seeks to rebound from a sorry five-set setback to Sta. Elena last Tuesday that saw the Sealions blow a match point and yield three straight points in a loss that stymied its bid for early joint leadership.
Still, they set out for their 5:30 p.m. match with the Troopers confident of nailing their second win in three starts against a team reeling from losses to the Nationals and the HD Spikers.
But all eyes will be on the HD Spikers-Griffins encounter with Cignal coach Dexter Clamor expected to lean anew on his tested crew made up of Marck Espejo, JP Bugaoan, Rex Intal, Ysrael Marasigan, Alfred Balbuena, Edmar Bonono, Peter Torres and playmaker Owen Suarez, who have been playing with the same fire and cohesion that have marked their back-to-back title romps before the country’s first and only men’s volley league went on a three-year hiatus.
VNC, however, is all primed for a big showing after two scrambling wins with the diminutive but talented JB San Andres and Uriel Mendoza, along with Michael Doria and Kevin Montemayor and setter Ish Polvorosa, raring to slug it out and prove their worth against their fancied rivals.
The four in the seven-team field after the single round robin elims will advance to the semis with the winner in the Cignal-VNS duel moving a win away from assuring themselves of at least a tie for the last Final Four berth.
Games are aired on One Sports and One Sports+ and the league’s official website http://spikersturf.ph/live.