Cignal took advantage of F2 Logistics’ faulty reception in the fourth set to pull off a 27-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-19 victory Tuesday in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The HD Spikers uncorked four of their nine service aces in the deciding set to seal their third straight win and enter the second round as the unbeaten top seed in Pool A of this prestigious club league bankrolled by Belo, Rebisco and Gold’s Gym with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Jovelyn Gonzaga spearheaded the assault with 17 kills for a total of 18 points, but it was Rachel Anne Daquis and Royse Tubino who carried the fight in the fourth set as they torched the Cargo Movers’ defense from the open position.
Daquis emerged with 16 points while Tubino submitted 15 markers for Cignal, who will join the top two finishers in Pool B composed of Foton, Generika-Ayala, Cocolife and Cherrylume in Round 2.
“All of the strong teams are in our bracket, so there will be little adjustment for us in Round 2,” said Pascua, whose wards downed competitive teams like Petron, Sta. Lucia and the reigning champions in Cargo Movers.
“The chemistry of our team, especially our setter (Chie Saet), is starting to take place. They already know what to do by just observing the body language of each other. We also had a (training) camp (in Japan) so we had a little bonding. I think that’s our biggest advantage.”
But against F2 Logistics, a squad bannered by reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) champion De La Salle University, Cignal was at its best.
The HD Spiker jumped the gun early to win the first two sets in impressive fashion before slowing down in the third after committing seven service errors.
They, however, re-emerged in the fourth set as Daquis and Saet did damage from the service box that threw the Cargo Movers out of their comfort zone.
“I told them to minimize those errors in the fourth set,” Pascua said, noting that their four aces in the fourth set spelled doom for the Cargo Movers. “They had substitution. So we target whoever is fresh off the bench like Cha Cruz and (Ara) Galang.”
UAAP Most Valuable Player Majoy Baron tallied 14 points while Kim Dy had nine markers to lead the Cargo Movers, who suffered their second straight setback.
They still have a chance to avert a complete shutout when they tangle with Sta. Lucia Realty Thursday in the first out-of-town game of this league that also has Senoh, Mueller, Mikasa, Asics and Grand Sport as technical sponsors this conference in Bacoor City.
In the second match, Petron bounced back with an emphatic straight-set victory over Sta. Lucia, 25-18, 25-16, 25-20.
Gunners Bernadeth Pons and Sisi Rondina took turns in piercing the defense to tow Petron to their second win in three games.
With that, Petron joins its past tormentor, Cignal, in Pool C in the second round.
Pons delivered seven kills and three aces for 10 points while Rondina had six kills to finish with seven points behind Aiza Maizo-Pontillas’ nine markers.
“Knowing our team, we have to work hard to squeeze out the skills and talent of our players,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos after avenging their four-set loss to the CD Spikers over the weekend.
“Last game, it was out errors that killed us. Their (HD Spikers) points came from us. So we made the team realized that it shouldn’t happen again. I hope we can use that experience to move forward and win our next matches.”
Newcomer MJ Phillips was the lone bright spot with 11 kills for a total of 12 points for Sta. Lucia, which absorbed its second straight loss.