MANILA, Philippines – Cignal quickly bounced back from its four-set stunner loss against the Navy with a quick sweep of Ateneo-Fudgee Barr, 25-14, 25-23, 25-22, in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena on Thursday, September 15.
Louie Ramirez led the defending champions with 13 points, all off attacks, while star spiker Marck Espejo scored 12 off 9 attacks, 2 blocks, and 1 ace.
Owen Suarez also tallied 19 excellent sets to help steer the HD Spikers to a 4-1 record and clinch the second semifinals spot at the heels of undefeated NU-Sta. Elena at 4-0.
The Blue Eagles – fresh off its first win – crashed back to earth for a 1-4 slate, led by 10 points apiece from Kennedy Batas and Jian Salarzon.
Meanwhile, it was the Army’s turn to finally score a breakthrough after surviving Santa Rosa City in a five-set thriller, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 17-25, 15-6.
Madz Gampong topscored with 22 points off 13 attacks, a staggering 7 blocks, and 2 aces, while Benjaylo Labide backstopped the herculean effort with 20 points of his own.
However, it was a bittersweet victory for the Troopers as Gampong announced right after the game that he has played his final outing for the conference, and is set to return home to Tawi-tawi on Sunday, September 18.
Gampong politely refused to elaborate and just told reporters that “it’s a long story.”
Jade Disquitado also tallied a game-high 22 points in the loss for the 1-4 Lions while Mark Jason Baldos recorded 21 excellent sets.
Cignal is set for a highly anticipated match against NU-Sta. Elena on Tuesday, September 20, 5:30 pm – the last game of the elimination round. The Army, meanwhile, looks to build on its momentum with a win that same day against VNS-One Alicia at 2:30 pm.
Santa Rosa is hoping to stay alive in the semis race with a win against the streaking Navy also on Tuesday, 11:30 am, to kick off a rare triple-header, while Ateneo will have an early return on Saturday, September 17 at 5:30 pm against mighty NU. – Rappler.com