Wed. Feb 28th, 2024


Cignal HD Spikers' Marck Espejo. –Spikers' Turf PHOTO

Cignal HD Spikers’ Marck Espejo. –Spikers’ Turf PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Marck Espejo unleashed 26 points to lift Cignal to a win closer to redeeming the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference championship as the HD Spikers took a 25-22, 25-22, 28-26 victory over Cotabato in Game 1 of the finals on Wednesday at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

The HD Spikers were put to a tough test by the Cotabato Spikers, who took the set point, 24-23, in the third. But Espejo came to the rescue with a back-row attack before both squads settled for a tie twice.

Espejo put Cignal at match point anew, 27-26, before Jau Umandal’s back row attempt went off the mark and handed Cignal the win.

Espejo finished with 22 attacks, three aces, and a block while setter EJ Casana dished out 17 excellent sets on top of four points and five digs.

The HD Spikers try to complete a 14-game sweep on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

“We held tight until the end. I just told the boys to maximize our strength through EJ Casana,” said Cignal coach Dexter Clamor in Filipino. “But it’s a team effort on attack, defense, and all the basics.”

Cignal HD Spikers in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference. –SPIKERS TURF PHOTO

Cignal HD Spikers in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference. –SPIKERS TURF PHOTO

JP Bugaoan delivered 12 points, while Wendel Miguel also scored 12 markers and had 17 excellent receptions. Libero Manuel Sumanguid had 15 excellent receptions and eight digs.

Umandal led the Cotabato Spikers with 15 points off 14 attacks and a block and had six excellent receptions and four excellent digs. Rex Intal and Wewe Medina added seven and six points, respectively.

Cotabato tried to extend the series in Game 2.

Meanwhile, Jade Disquitado erupted for a conference-high 34 points as Iloilo took down  Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22, to move on the cusp of claiming the bronze medal.

Disquitado had 33 attacks as D’Navigators try to clinch the bronze on Friday. 

Neil de Pedro also delivered for Iloilo with 12 points, 14 excellent receptions, and nine excellent digs, while Rash Nursiddik added 11 points. John Arano dished out 22 excellent sets.

Imus was powered by Ronniel Rosales scored 17 points on 14 attacks, two blocks, and an ace, while Hero Austria chipped in 14 points, eight excellent digs, and eight excellent receptions.

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By Dave Jenks

Dave Jenks is an American novelist and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Between those careers, he’s worked as a deckhand, commercial fisherman, divemaster, taxi driver, construction manager, and over the road truck driver, among many other things. He now lives on a sea island, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, with his wife and youngest daughter. They also have three grown children, five grand children, three dogs and a whole flock of parakeets. Stinnett grew up in Melbourne, Florida and has also lived in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. His next dream is to one day visit and dive Cuba.