Cignal-North Cotabato, UE- Antipolo in the PNVF Champions League final
CIGNAL and North Cotabato staged a showdown for the Men’s Championship after scoring contrasting victories in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League semi-finals at Philsports Arena on Saturday night.
On the women’s side, California Precision Sports-Antipolo beat Imus City, 26-28, 25-13, 25-21, 25-19, also on Saturday to set up their own showdown in Sunday’s finals.
The HD Spikers swept Imus City, 25-23, 25-21, 25-19, while the G-Spikers went through the wringer before beating PGJC-Navy, 25-15, 20-25, 22-25 , 28-26, 15-11.
JP Bugaoan fired 11 of 16 attacks and had two blocks to finish with 14 points, while Marck Espejo had 13 points as Cignal wrapped up the semi-final game in just one hour and 31 minutes.
Jao Umandal scored 27 points, including four service aces, while John Vic de Guzman and Kim Malabunga each had 19 points as North Cotabato overcame anxious moments in the fourth set to extend the match and ultimately prevail.
The HD Spikers and G-Spikers face off for the gold medal at 5:30 p.m. to cap off the eight-day tournament supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Rebisco, PLDT, Philippine Olympic Committee, Cignal HD, One Sports, Cignal Play, F2 Logistics and Amigo Entertainment.
After a tough five-set victory over Bacolod in the quarter-finals on Friday, coach Dexter Clamor was delighted with how his troops fared against the AJAA Spikers.
“Actually, we didn’t expect the win in straight sets. I’m sure Imus will play well,” said Clamor, who faced his former college coach Sammy Acaylar. “This morning, we studied their rotation. We focused on their strengths and we were able to defend what they had. It always comes down to preparation. We executed our game plan.
The HD Spikers are ready to take on the G-Spikers for all the marbles.
“Most of them are national team players, that’s why we’re going to prepare hard,” Clamor said. “I think our big advantage is that we’ve been together for so long. We will also look for our chemistry.
“We also have to look to our former player Vince Mangulabnan, who was previously with Cignal and is now our opponent. I know how he plays but as we know him well, we know how we can handle him,” he added.
Ridzuan Muhali was the AJAA Spikers’ only double-digit scorer with 10 points.
Greg Dolor had 25 points while Joeven dela Vega had 20 points for the Sea Lions.
Imus and PGJC-Navy are battling it out for the bronze medal on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Casiey Dongallo had two blocks and two service aces for a 27-point outing as the CAL Babies rallied from a first loss to extend their perfect run to four games.
Jelai Gajero had 18 points, middle blocker Jenalyn Umayam had 12 kills, while Lhouriz Tuddao had 11 points for CPS Antipolo.
The CAL Babies and Lady Warriors battle it out for the gold medal at 3 p.m. Sunday at the same Pasig venue.
Fifth place in last year’s inaugural in the Lipa bubble, CPS Antipolo exceeded all expectations in the tournament supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Rebisco, PLDT, Philippine Olympic Committee, Cignal HD, One Sports, Cignal Play , F2 Logistics and Amigo Entertainment.
“Everything we did there, all the experiences, all the learnings, we took from it (first season) and brought it here,” said Dongallo, a Cebu pride. “Even if our opponents are older than us, it doesn’t matter. If they are brave, we have to line up to give our opponents a good fight (EU).
Dongallo was not there when CAL Babies beat Lady Warriors in four sets in their Pool B opener.
Jorelle Singh and Alex Rafael had 16 and 12 points respectively for the AJAA Spikers.
Imus will face Quezon City for the bronze medal at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Get it over with… get it over with