MANILA, Philippines – The Cignal HD Spikers found themselves a roadblock-free path back to the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference semifinals after cruising to their eighth straight sweep against the erstwhile unbeaten Cotabato Spikers, 25-15, 25-21, 25-17, at the Paco Arena on Sunday, March 5.
JP Bugaoan led the statement blowout with 14 points off 11 attacks and 3 blocks. Marck Espejo added 13 points while EJ Casana tallied 24 excellent sets as Cignal rose to an 8-0 record. Jau Umandal paced Cotabato with just 10 points in its first loss to drop to a 5-1 slate.
Meanwhile, the defending champion NU-Archipelago Builders finally broke through after a 0-5 start with their Team B squad, downing the Philippine Army Troopers in four sets, 25-21, 25-17, 23-25, 25-18.
Mac Bandola led the much-needed win with 18 points off 12 attacks, 5 aces, and 1 block, while Benjaylo Labide scored 14 in the Army’s descent to a 3-5 record.
Finally, in the third game of the rare triple-header, the Philippine Air Force Jet Spikers won their second game of the conference after seven losses by sweeping the lowly Vanguard Volley Hitters, 25-14, 26-24, 25-23.
Rodolfo Labrador led the win with 16 points off 14 attacks, 1 block, and 1 ace, matching Razzel Palisoc’s point total over at the losing side as Vanguard dropped its seventh straight game after a winning debut.
Cignal next eyes another undefeated team, the 6-0 D’ Navigators Iloilo on Friday, March 10, 5:30 pm, in a possible finals preview.
NU shoots for a possible winning streak on Wednesday, March 8, 3 pm against the Santa Rosa City Lions, while the Air Force takes a 12-day break before facing Cotabato on Friday, March 17, 5:30 pm. – Rappler.com
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