Spikers' Turf: Cignal HD looks to repeat vs. NU-Sta. Elena in semis


Posted at Sep 22 2022 08:00 AM

Cignal HD is targeting another win against National University-Sta. Elena. PVL Media
Cignal HD is targeting another win against National University-Sta. Elena. PVL Media

MANILA, Philippines -- For the second time in three days, Cignal HD and National University-Sta. Elena will face off in the 2022 Spikers' Turf Open Conference.

But the stakes will be higher in their Thursday afternoon rematch at the Paco Arena, with both teams looking to open the semifinal round on a winning note.

The HD Spikers are eyeing a repeat of their 25-22, 25-22, 25-22 triumph against the Nationals last Tuesday that denied NU-Sta. Elena a sweep of the elimination round. 

"It's a non-bearing [game], but it's a big psychological win," said Cignal HD star Marck Espejo, who had 17 points, 19 receptions, and five digs in the victory. "May gigil or takot factor na since natalo namin sila."

Nonetheless, Espejo says the HD Spikers still need to make adjustments as they brace for a better performance from the Nationals.

"We're not going to relax," he vowed.

The HD Spikers nearly fell apart in the third set, squandering an early lead and allowing NU-Sta. Elena to threaten. The veteran team was more composed in the end game, however, and sealed the second-seed in the semis behind Navy.

NU-Sta. Elena settled for the third seed, though all three teams finished with identical 5-1 win-loss records.

Cignal HD coach Dexter Clamor hailed the poise shown by his team but remained wary of the Nationals in their 5:30 p.m. rematch.

"While the boys' morale is high, we still have to study our lapses and the strength of the Nationals. Sure, they will make the necessary adjustments, so we need to be ready," he added.

At 2:30 p.m., the Navy Sealions will take on the VNS-One Alicia Griffins, seeking to maintain their four-game winning streak.