Spikers’ Turf: Cignal eliminates VNS-One Alicia to boost finals chances
MANILA, Philippines — Despite Marck Espejo’s limited action due to an Achilles’ heel injury, defending champion Cignal ousted VNS-One Alicia, 25-20, 26-24, 25-18, to keep its final hopes alive in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference on Saturday at Paco Arena.
Louie Ramirez stepped up when it mattered most for the HD Spikers, leading the way with 16 points off 13 attacks, two blocks, and one ace, as Espejo only played sparingly in the first set and had one point.
“I have the confidence in myself because my teammates’ trust boosts my confidence every game,” said Ramirez in Filipino. “Everyone performed well. We just applied what we did in practice.”
JP Bugaoan contributed 13 points, providing three of Cignal’s nine blocks. Chu Njigha also shone in his first start with seven points as they improved to 1-1 in the semifinals, tying PGJC-Navy, which they will face in a crucial match on Tuesday.
The HD Spikers head coach Dexter Clamor was glad that everyone from his bench delivered after a roller-coaster week, beating National University-Sta. Elena in the last day of eliminations on Tuesday, but suffering a five-set meltdown in their semis match last Thursday.
“We’re really exhausted this week. It’s been a roller coaster ride from winning last Tuesday but we lost last Thursday, which was supposed to be our win,” said Clamor in Filipino. “I think it’s part of our journey. We need this experience to become stronger. Good thing our bench players contributed. It’s really a collective effort from everyone.”
VNS-One Alicia suffered its second loss in the semis round, bombing out of Finals contention. The Griffins will be relegated to the battle for third after Tuesday’s match against unbeaten NU-Sta. Elena.
Kevin Montemayor and Ben San Andres led the Griffins with 11 points each, while Christian Doria added eight as they gave up 28 errors in the match.
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