Spikers' Turf: Cotabato clinches Finals spot despite 4-set loss to Cignal HD


Posted at Mar 27 2023 10:00 PM

It will be Cignal HD vs Cotabato in the Spikers' Turf Open Conference Finals. PVL Media.
It will be Cignal HD vs Cotabato in the Spikers' Turf Open Conference Finals. PVL Media.

MANILA -- Cotabato fell to Cignal HD in a four-set affair to close the semifinal phase of the 2023 Spikers' Turf Open Conference, but still advanced to the championship series by virtue of a superior tiebreak.

The HD Spikers completed a three-game sweep of the semifinals after eclipsing Cotabato in four sets, 25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, on Monday night at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. This marked only the second time in the conference that Cignal HD dropped a set. 

In the first game, Imus topped Iloilo, 25-23, 11-25, 25-20, 25-15, to force a three-way tie at 1-2 at the close of the round robin semis. However, Imus lost out on a chance to advance through their inferior set ratio.

Cotabato and Iloilo were tied after the first tiebreak, but Cotabato had the superior points ratio, 0.95 to 0.93, over Iloilo.

"It's all about winning the game," Cignal HD coach Dexter Clamor said after the game. "Kahit natalo kami nung third set basta importante nakabawi."

The HD Spikers will play Cotabato in Game 1 on Wednesday at the same venue. First serve is at 5:30 p.m. This is their fourth straight championship appearance. 

Cotabato got the break it needed when it broke away from a tight 21-20 count aided by two Cignal errors coupled with Steven Rotter and Rex Intal's attacks as the Spikers stalled the HD Spikers.

But Cignal held its nerve in a fiercely fought fourth set with Marck Espejo punctuating the HD Spikers’ one-hour and 51-minute victory with a hit.

Espejo top-scored again with 20 points on 16 attacks, three aces, and a block and finished with 15 excellent receptions while JP Bugaoan had 14 points while Wendel Miguel netted 11 points and eight digs.

Jau Umandal scored 20 points for the Cotabato Spikers, who also drew 11 markers from Wewe Medina.

"We will study, we will work on our errors, and we will definitely going back to the drawing board and pagaralan namin kung paano namin sila tatalunin," Clamor said of their finals showdown against Cotabato.