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Cignal, Air Force seal Spikers’ Turf title duel

Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Cignal HD struck back from a stinging four-set setback with a dominating stint in the decider, hacking out a 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 11-25, 15-8 decision over PLDT Home Ultera to clinch the first finals berth in the Spikers’ Turf Season 1 Reinforced Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.

Top seed Air Force likewise went through a wringer before subduing a tough Navy side, 25-15, 20-25, 29-27, 24-26, 15-12, to arrange a showdown with the second seeded HD Spikers for the crown in the season-ending conference of the pioneering men’s volley league presented by PLDT Home Ultera.

Cignal and Air Force open their best-of-three title series on Saturday.

Lorenzo Capate Jr. outduelled Mark Gil Alfafara in a duel of the league’s top hitters, taking charge and delivering the big spikes in the decider to power the twice-to-beat HD Spikers to the best-of-three finals of the season-ending conference of the pioneering men’s volley league presented by PLDT Home Ultera.

Alfafara actually outhit Capate, 28-26, but the latter punched in the biggest hits in the end as the second-seeded HD Spikers foiled the No. 3 Ultra Fast Hitters’ bid to force a sudden death.

“We played tougher and aggressive in the fifth,” said Cignal coach Michael Carino.

Cignal also fell short in attack points, 59-62, and had less blocks, 11-12. But the HD Spikers came out strong from a listless 11-point performance in the fourth and took care of business in the fifth.

Both teams finished with three aces.

The Airmen, with Rodolfo Labrador on the firing end, broke away from a tight 6-all count in the decider by winning six of the next eight points but the Sailors, behind Chris Senisan, stunned their rivals by racking up four straight hits, setting the stage for a down-to-the-wire finish.

But after Labrador scored on another hit and Reyson Fuentes came through with a block, Air Force pounced on Navy’s miscue in the ensuing play that saw the Sailors committing four touches to yield the match point to the Airmen.

It was a sorry setback for Navy, which edged Instituto Estetico Manila, 28-30, 25-19, 28-26, 14-15, 15-12, late Saturday, then dragged the No. 1 Air Force into a thriller of a five setter before losing steam in the end.

Earlier, Herschel Ramos, Edmar Bonono and Alexis Faytaren provided the needed backup to Capate as they combined for 33 hits while Red Christensen added seven markers for the HD Spikers.

Ron Galang fired 17 points while Henry Peca-a and Peter Torres chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively, but the Ultra Fast Hitters failed to neutralize their rivals’ spirited charge in the fifth set and dropped to a battle for third in the tournament backed by Mikasa.

Games are aired on weekdays on PTV-4 starting at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:15 p.m., according to the organizing Sports Vision.

ACIRC AIR FORCE CAPATE CHRIS SENISAN CIGNAL CIGNAL AND AIR FORCE EDMAR BONONO AND ALEXIS FAYTAREN HENRY PECA HERSCHEL RAMOS HOME ULTERA ULTRA FAST HITTERS
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