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HD Spikers smother Airmen, force ‘rubber’

(The Philippine Star) - November 25, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Cignal HD smothered Air Force with its power game and solid blocking, coming away with an emphatic 25-16, 25-17, 25-18 victory to force a sudden death for the Spikers’ Turf Season 1-Reinforced Conference crown at The Arena in San Juan City yesterday.

The HD Spikers came out smoking and sustained their attacks to finish with 40 kills, 15 more than the Airmen, as they slowed down the Air Force’s hitters with 12 blocks on their way to leveling their best-of-three series at 1-1 after dropping the opener, 15-25, 25-19, 19-25, 19-25.

Edmar Bonono went on attack mode as he unleashed a game-best 19 hits, including 15 kills, as the HD Spikers atoned for their lackluster showing the first time out to send the series to a winner-take-all affair on Dec. 6.

“We were a little lousy in Game One that’s why we made some adjustments in our attacking game, which went according to plan today (yesterday),” said Cignal coach Michael Carino.

Lorenzo Capate Jr. finished with 12 hits but Cignal drew a strong performance from Herschel Ramos, who contributed 11 points after a dismal four-hit performance in Game One of the finals of the season-ending conference presented by PLDT Home Ultera.

“We knew that for us to have a chance, we need to get everybody involved and we did that in this game,” said Carino.

The HD Spikers also found a way to slow down the Airmen’s once mighty attacking game with a solid net defense.

After a 17-point effort in the series’ opener, Jeffry Malabanan struggled with only 10 points while the power-spiking troika of Rodolfo Labrador, Reyson Fuentes and Ruben Inaudito were held to a combined 18 points after pooling 34 in Game One.

But while Cignal’s blocking was spectacular, Carino was not as impressed with his wards’ reception.

“We need to improve more on our defense, we rely too much on our libero (Sandy Domenick Montero),” said Carino.

Earlier, PLDT Home Ultera pulled through in a thrilling opener then bounced back from a second set defeat to finish off Navy, 31-29, 20-25, 25-21, 25-15, to capture third place honors in the pioneering men’s volley league backed by Mikasa and organized by Sports Vision.

Mark Alfafara fired 21 hits, including 19 attack points, while four others churned out double-digit scores for the Ultra Fast Hitters, who also scored a four-set win, 25-14, 25-22, 23-25, 25-19, in Game One.

ACIRC AIR FORCE CARINO CIGNAL EDMAR BONONO GAME GAME ONE HERSCHEL RAMOS HOME ULTERA JEFFRY MALABANAN LORENZO CAPATE JR.
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