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Sunday, May 26, 2024

HD Spikers, Sealions dispute 2nd finals berth

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CIGNAL and Navy brace for an explosive showdown of teams backstopped by seasoned campaigners as they face off today (Tuesday) in a good-or-bust duel for the second championship berth in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference at the Paco Arena.

The match is set at 5:30 p.m. with the HD Spikers hoping to ride the momentum of their three-set romp over the ousted VNS-One Alicia Griffins last Saturday and the Sealions out to rebound from a straight-set defeat to the Sta. Elena Nationals in their clash for the first finals seat last Saturday.

Navy, however, is coming into the crucial setto with a big psychological edge, having toppled Cignal in four in their elims meeting last Sept. 13.

The win spiked a fiery closing run of four victories in the qualifiers with the Sealions repeating over Griffins in the semis, only to bump into a resolute Sta. Elena side and fall into a must-win over the back-to-back defending champions for a crack at the championship.

The HD Spikers also found themselves in a do-or-die spot after failing to prick the growing Sta. Elena bubble but remained confident of hurdling and getting back at the Sealions for a shot at redemption against the Nationals.

While health issues continued to hound both teams, the Sealions hope to show up with the core of the squad that stunned the HD Spikers in the elims, including Jao Umandal, Chris Marcelino, Peter Quiel, Ron Rosales, playmaker EJ Casana and the hard-hitting skipper Greg Dolor.

Cignal top hitter Marck Espejo opted to sit out the last two sets against VNS while trying to shake off a heel injury as the former Ateneo stalwart seeks to start anew with JP Bugaoan, Ysay Marasigan, Edmar Bonono, Rex Intal, Chumason Njigha and rising star Louie Ramirez, who unloaded 16 points to spearhead the team’s win over the Griffins.

The Nationals, meanwhile, go for a sweep of the semis as they take on the winless Griffins at 2:30 p.m. with the latter also going all out against a team that would most likely opt to try out new combinations and rest their starters for the finals grind.

Matches are aired on One Sports and One Sports+ and the league’s official website


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