MANILA, Philippines—Wins were hard to come by for Cignal HD last year.
But not this time as the HD Spikers continued their winning ways on Tuesday.
Cignal toppled Choco Mucho, 20-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-16, in a battle of unbeaten teams to move a win away from pulling off a surprise sweep in the five-team Group A at Paco Arena in Manila.
“We need proper recovery as we prepare against Army. We need to communicate more and be ready in anticipation of the tougher grind,” said coach Shaq delos Santos, who kept on drawing big games from his combo of aces, including Roselyn Doria, who produced a top-scoring 17-point performance in their one-hour, 43-minute victory.
“I’m proud of her (Doria). She’s always all-out in practice. Actually, she wasn’t satisfied with her performance in the first two games. She always knew she can do better. Hopefully, she continues to improve,” he added.
Quite a stirring start indeed for a team that finished last with only a win to show in nine games in the league’s inaugural pro season in Ilocos Norte late last year.
Cignal, which previously took down defending champion Chery Tiggo and multi-titled F2 Logistics, seeks to complete its remarkable surge against Army at the close of the single-round elimination on Thursday.
With a 3-0 mark, Cignal has secured a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.
The veteran mentor also cited Ces Molina’s resolve as the latter came out of a brief rehab after sustaining an ankle injury the last time out to fire 14 points while seasoned Rachel Ann Daquis continued to provide the poise and leadership and finished with 10 points, the same output put in by Angeli Araneta.
“We’re thankful to the Lord for giving us this win,” said delos Santos, who also drew nine hits from Ria Meneses, six markers from ace setter Gel Cayuna and four points from Jerrili Malabanan.
Choco Mucho dropped to 2-1 in a tie with F2 Logistics.
Unperturbed by their first-set defeat, the HD Spikers came out of the second frame an organized lot, cranking up their offense while firming up their defense anchored on a solid net stint that saw them produce an impressive 16-block point norm against their rivals’ three.
Midway in the fourth, Cignal had piled up 14 blocks points against Choco Mucho’s measly two despite its tall frontline rotation.
Kat Tolentino pumped in 19 points, including 18 on attacks, while Aduke Ogunsanya backed her up with 10 points but the rest of the Flying Titans struggled after a hot first set outing with Ponggay Gaston and Bea de Leon finishing with five points apiece.
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