Cignal overcame VNS-One Alicia’s late rally in the third set to pick up its third sweep of the tournament, 25-22, 25-20, 26-24 in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, Thursday at the Paco Arena.
The HD Spikers, who have yet to drop a set in their first three games, broke the three-way tie at the top spot after moving to 3-0. They also extended their winning streak to 16 games dating back to the 2019 Reinforced Conference.
Geuel Asia gave Cignal a five-point advantage after delivering a booming ace, 20-15, late in the third set. The Griffins, though, did not go down without a fight and leaned on Ben San Andres, who led a 9-2 blast that put them at set point, 24-22, after trailing for almost the entirety of the third frame.
Ysay Marasigan and Edmar Bonono kept the defending champions alive, scoring on consecutive plays to save two points for Cignal. San Andres, who took charge in VNS-One Alicia’s late rally, committed two straight attack errors which ended the match.
“Pagdating naman sa mga ganiyang laro kung sino yung pinakamatibay na puso pagdating sa game yun ang mananalo. Maganda naman naging performance, nanalo kahit na medyo na-rattle nung patapos na ang laro,” said HD Spikers head coach Dexter Clamor.
“Ang importante naman doon is kung paano namin tinapos yung game,” he added.
Marasigan, who was called for a crucial net violation during the latter part of the third frame, atoned for his mistake and spearheaded Cignal with 14 points built on 12 attacks, an ace, and a block.
Marck Espejo added eight points while JP Bugaoan added six points which includes two kill blocks as 10 players scored two points or more for the HD Spikers in the game which lasted for an hour and 35 minutes.
The Griffins, after trimming the Cignal’s lead to just two in the opening set, 18-20, were plagued by errors which eventually put the HD Spikers at set point, 24-19. Marck Espejo and Rex Intal then committed service and attack errors, respectively, while Roniey Adviento converted off a slide which saved three set points for VNS-One Alicia before Espejo dropped the hammer to give his side the 1-0 lead.
Things looked a bit easy for Cignal in the second set after going on a 7-2 blast after the second technical timeout to take a 23-15 advantage over the Griffins. Kevin Montemayor tried to will VNS-One Alicia back into the match but Espejo delivered the final blows that helped the HD Spikers take the set.
Leading the Griffins, who dropped to 2-1 in the standings, are Montemayor and San Andres with 13 and nine points, respectively.
VNS-One Alicia missed the services of star middle blocker Kim Malabunga, who sprained his right ankle against Sta. Rosa.