HD Spikers clinch bronze
With veteran Rachel Anne Daquis on the firing end, Cignal overcame a gritty stand by Smart-Army, 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, to claim third place in the Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference on Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Daquis tallied 18 points and registered 13 digs as the HD Spikers ended their campaign on a winning note in the bronze-medal match.
Cignal set out to defend its crown, but with an inexperienced squad under coach Edgar Barroga, fell short in the Final Four.
The HD Spikers went undefeated in the preliminaries before suffering a tough straight-set loss to F2 Logistics in the semifinals.
“Actually, we finished within our expectations,” said Barroga. “Our target is to make the top four since our lineup isn’t as experienced as in the past.”
Despite the loss of stars Jovelyn Gonzaga, Honey Royse Tubino, Paneng Mercado, Chie Saet and Maica Morada, Daquis refused to give up as she took the cudgels to make sure that the HD Spikers will remain competitive.
“Rachel responded to my challenges this conference,” said Barroga. “I am very satisfied with her performance.”
The HD Spikers put up a tough stand at the net, coming away with 11 blocks, five of which were courtesy of Shirley Salamagos, who had seven points.
Cignal also drew a solid performance from Mylene Paat, who scattered 15 points and Mumay Vivas, who picked up 13 hits.
Not even a poor second set performance could unsettle the HD Spikers, who found their groove in the third and fourth sets to finish off Smart Army.
Still, the fourth-place finish for the Giga Hitters was already a marked improvement from their previous campaign in the PSL Invitationals, where they ended up winless.
Joanne Bunag was the only twin digit scorer for Smart-Army with 10 points, while Dimdim Pacres contributed eight hits.