MANILA, Philippines — Cignal made quick work of Iloilo, 25-19, 25-22, 25-15, to cruise to its ninth straight win and move to the cusp of an elimination round sweep of the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference on Friday at Paco Arena.
The HD Spikers remained unstoppable with an immaculate 9-0 record without dropping a single set in the tournament, as Marck Espejo led the dispatching of D’Navigators in just 81 minutes.
Espejo delivered the goods with 16 points built on 12 attacks, two blocks, and two aces, while JP Bugaoan and Wendel Miguel chipped in 11 markers apiece with the latter adding nine excellent receptions and seven digs.
Libero Manuel Sumanguid protected the floor with 14 excellent receptions and 11 digs, as setter EJ Casaña paced Cignal with 16 excellent sets.
“All I can say is the team performed well. That’s what we wanted to see from them even though we’re already through the semifinals,” said Cignal coach Dexter Clamor in Filipino. “We want to gain the respect of our opponent since we’re facing Iloilo, which we could battle again in the semis.”
Cignal, which settled for a runner-up finish last year, tries to sweep the elimination round against the PGJC-Navy on March 19 before playing in the round-robin semifinals.
The D’Navigators suffered their second straight loss, falling to a 6-2 card with Jerome Cordez and Jade Disquitado leading the way with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
Meanwhile, Jau Umandal fired 27 points to boost AMC-Cotabato’s semis drive with a 25-22, 23-25, 25-15, 25-20 win over PGJC-Navy.
Umandal was nearly unstoppable with 23 kills, three blocks, and an ace to go with 15 excellent receptions, while Wewe Medina and Jayvee Sumagaysay added 13 and nine points, respectively.
“My concern is their jelling, cohesion, and mastery of the system. Today, they did well in attacking but we had lapses on defense,” said Cotabato coach Odjie Mamon as they improved to a 6-1 record in the second place.
Navy dropped to a 3-5 record with Christian Marcelino and Wilbert Sapida carrying the cudgels with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
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