Cignal, Air Force seal Spikers’ Turf title duel
Lorenzo Capate Jr. outshone Mark Gil Alfafara in the clutch to lead Cignal HD to a grueling 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 11-25, 15-8 triumph over PLDT Home Ultera yesterday and reach the finals of the Spikers’ Turf Season 1 Reinforced Conference.
Air Force encountered stiff resistance before pulling off a 25-15, 20-25, 29-27, 24-26, 15-12 victory over Philippine Navy in the other game to set up a championship dream match with Cignal HD at Filoil Flying V Arena next week.
With Rodolfo Labrador and Reyson Fuentes on the attack, the Airmen exploited Navy’s spate of errors in the end after both teams engaged in a down-the-wire finish.
Jeffrey Malabanan led the Airmen with 17 points and Labrador added 14 kills while Jessie Lopez had 27 excellent sets.
Capate, one of the league’s biggest hitters along with Alfafara, had 26 kills while drawing key support from Alexis Faytaren, Herschel Ramos and Edmar Bonogo as the HD Spikers sealed their place in the best-of-three finals.
Alfafara finished with 28 power smashes but the Ultra Fast Hitters couldn’t overcome the twice-to-beat edge of the HD Spikers in their semifinal encouner.
“They’re a hard team to beat. But we played with more urgency and caught them in the fifth,” said Cignal coach Michael Cariño.
Cignal now waits for the winner of the other semis encounter between No. 1 seed Air Force, which punched the last ticket to the Final Four with a grinding five-set victory over Instituto Estetico Manila on Saturday.
Faytaren, Ramos and Bonono combined for 33 hits to backstop Capate. Red Christensen also sparkled with seven points for the HD Spikers.
Cignal, which recovered from an impatient performance in the fourth set, had 59 attack points, three short than the aggressive Ultra Fast Hitters.
Ron Galang scored 17 points, Henry Peca-a contributed 12 and Peter Torres added 11 for the Ultra Fast Hitters.
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