Spikers’ Turf: Cignal cruises to 5th straight sweep; Navy grounds Air Force

Feb 19, 2023

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CRUISING. Cignal star Marck Espejo at the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference

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Cignal stars JP Bugaoan and Marck Espejo take turns whipping the VNS Griffins as the undefeated HD Spikers win their 15th straight set at the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference

MANILA, Philippines – The Cignal HD Spikers once again proved that the path to the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference championship runs through them after netting their fifth straight sweep at the expense of the VNS Griffins, 25-18, 25-17, 25-15, at the Paco Arena on Sunday, February 19.

JP Bugaoan and Marck Espejo led the 2022 runners-up anew in the blowout with 14 and 9 points, respectively, in just two sets played. Alfred Valbuena also netted 9 points off the bench as Cignal rose to a momentary solo lead with a 5-0 record, above 4-0 Iloilo and 3-0 Cotabato.

No VNS player breached double-digit scoring in the sorry flop down to a 3-3 slate as Philip Bagalay led the nine-man rotation with 8 points.

In the first game of the double-header, the Navy Sealions prevailed in a four-set Armed Forces showdown with the Air Force Jet Spikers, 25-18, 24-26, 25-22, 25-21, to boost its playoff bid.

Navy captain Greg Dolor had the last laugh in his scoring standoff with his counterpart Ranran Abdilla, as both topscored with 25 points across an airtight final stretch.

Christian Marcelino backstopped Dolor with 17 points and 16 excellent receptions as Owen Suarez dictated the offense with 26 excellent sets for the Navy, which rose to a 2-3 tie at sixth place with the Army Troopers.

Edwin Tolentino scored 17 in the loss, while Jessie Lopez added 22 excellent sets as the Air Force dropped its third straight game for a 1-5 slate, just above the cellar-dwelling NU-Archipelago Builders at 0-4.

The Navy returns on Wednesday, February 22, for a 5:30 pm assignment against the Vanguard Volley Hitters.

The Air Force, meanwhile, shoots for a bounce-back on Friday, February 24, 3 pm, against the Santa Rosa City Lions as Cignal zeroes in on the Army at 5:30 pm. – Rappler.com

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