Cignal notched a 25-22, 25-22, 28-26 victory over Cotabato to move a win away from completing a sweep of the best-of-three finals of the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference on Wednesday.
With the victory, the HD Spikers also stepped closer to a 14-game tournament sweep.
Marck Espejo spearheaded Cignal's assault with a 26-point effort he spiked with three aces.
Though the Cotabato Spikers kept it close throughout, battling their fancied rivals kill-for-kill and shot-for-shot, the HD Spikers proved steadier in the clutch in all three sets.
“Kumapit hanggang dulo. I just told the boys na i-maximize lang un strength namin through (setter) EJ Casana,” said Cignal coach Dexter Clamor.
“But it’s a team effort, sa attack, defense, all the basics, nagtulungan ang team.”
Casana, who made his first finals appearance, took the game’s top honors with 17 excellent sets on top of four points.
JP Bugaoan added 12 points while Wendel Miguel had 12 markers as well along with 17 excellent receptions.
Meanwhile, Jade Disquitado exploded with a conference-high 34 points as Iloilo rallied past Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22, to close in on the bronze medal.
The young Disquitado almost single-handedly carried the D’Navigators to the victory as he fired away bombs from both wings, finishing with 33 attack points.
“Oo talagang pinaglaban namin kasi syempre sabi ko nga sa kanila, magpapabugbog lang ba kami sa Imus? Hindi kami babawi? Yun yung mindset ko eh,” said Iloilo head coach John Kenneth Panes.
“Kailangan naming bumawi kasi kung matalo pa kami, tatlong talo na tapos kung matalo pa sa Friday apat na so sabi ko para na lang sa mga sarili natin, kung gusto niyo talaga lumaban. Ayun, buti na lang talagang nag-trabaho sila.”
Neil de Pedro contributed 12 points on 12 attacks to go along with 14 excellent receptions and nine excellent digs.