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Sports

HD Spikers, Nationals eye No. 4 vs Sealions, Griffins

Philstar.com
HD Spikers, Nationals eye No. 4 vs Sealions, Griffins

Games Tuesday

2:30 p.m. – Sta. Elena vs VNC-One Alicia
5:30 p.m. – Cignal vs Navy

MANILA, Philippines – Unbeaten Cignal and National University-Sta. Elena try to build up confidence and momentum in preparation for their much awaited face-off next week as they take on separate rivals also in pursuit of key wins that would bolster their respective semifinal drive in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference.

The HD Spikers tangle with the Navy Sealions at 5:30 p.m. after the 2:30 p.m. encounter between the Nationals and the VNC-One Alicia Griffins in a pair of explosive matches tipped to go down to the last serve, hit or mishit at Paco Arena in Manila.

Cignal and Sta. Elena lord it over the seven-team field with three victories apiece with the HD Spikers posting a more impressive start with a string of straight-set romps over the Santa Rosa City Lions, the Army-Katinko Troopers and the Griffins.

In contrast, the Nationals went through a roller-coaster kind of campaign to earn a share of the lead, repulsing the Troopers in four, surviving the Sealions in five and dominating the City Lions in three.

But the two streaking teams will be in for a stiff challenge against the Sealions and the Griffins, who are both looking for victories that would improve their current identical 2-1 slates and virtually secure their spots in the semis.

The next three teams stand two games behind with Santa Rosa and Ateneo at joint fifth with 1-3 cards and Army practically out of the race with a 0-4 mark.

Games are aired on One Sports and One Sports+ and the league’s official website http://spikersturf.ph/live.

Led by Marck Espejo, Ysrael Marasigan, Alfred Valbuena, JP Bugaoan, Rex Intal and Peter Torres, the HD Spikers are looking for a third straight championship in the country’s first and only men’s volley league organized by Sports Vision following a three-year hiatus due to pandemic.
But the Nationals have shown a lot of promise behind a talented crew headed by Angelo Almendras, Michaelo Buddin, Kennry Malinis, Gerard Diao, Ave Retamar and backstopped by Congo’s Obed Mukaba, who are all raring to slug it out with the back-to-back champions on Sept. 20.

But the HD Spikers will first have to test the Sealions’ mettle with the latter out to foil the former’s run on a team built around heavy-hitter Joshua Umandal, Greg Dolor, Joeven dela Vega, Ronniel Rosales, Peter Quiel and playmaker EJ Casana.

The Griffins have also the tools and materials to halt the Nationals’ surge with the high-flying JB San Andres expected to soar anew along with Uriel Mendoza, Kevin Montemayor, Michael Doria, Kim Malabunga, Jeremy Merat, Sean Oliver and setter Ish Polvorosa.

SPIKERS TURF

VOLLEYBALL

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