Cagayan, PLDT repulse rivals, seal title clash

Games Thursday

2 p.m. – Air Force vs Cignal

4 p.m. – PLDT vs Cagayan


Standings    W         L

Cagayan       2          0

PLDT                         2          0

Cignal            0          2

Air Force       0          2




Cagayan Valley leaned on its superb blocking to buck Air Force’s relentless attacks, pulling off a come-from-behind 27-29, 25-22, 25-22, 25-21 victory to arrange a clash with PLDT Home Ultera for the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference crown at The Arena in San Juan City Tuesday.

The Ultra Fast Spikers also dropped the opening set but swept the next three for an 18-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-11 victory over the Cignal HD Spikers in the other Final Four encounter.

With 2-0 cards, Cagayan and PLDT moved into the finals while ousting Air Force and Cignal with identical 0-2 slates, rendering tomorrow’s final semis play non-bearing and the PLDT-Cagayan match at 4 p.m. a preview of the championship.
UAAP MVP Marck Espejo came through with six blocks and Peter Torres added five and the Rising Suns scored 18 points off the block. The rest backed Espejo and Torres with a gritty floor defense that put to naught the Airmen’s awesome attacking game and sent Cagayan to the finals of the inaugural league presented by PLDT Home Ultera.

While flaunting his blocking prowess, Espejo also sustained his fiery offensive game, finishing with 19 kills for a top-scoring 26-hit output while Torres and Jan Paglinawan provided solid support with 15 and 11 points, respectively.

Cagayan Valley also fought back from an extended first-set setback to repulse Cignal, 33-35, 25-23, 16-25, 25-21, 15-11, in last Sunday’s opener of the Final Four of the league backed by Mikasa and organized by Sports Vision.

The Ultra Fast Spikers, who also carved out a 28-26, 27-29, 25-22, 21-25, 18-16 decision over the Airmen Sunday, also banked on its solid net defense against the HD Spikers, scoring 15 blocks as against their rivals’ seven while finishing with 49 kills against Cignal’s 38.

Mark Alfafara fired 17 attacks, Howard Mojica unloaded 14 hits and Vic de Guzman chipped in 12 points for PLDT Home Ultera, which poised itself for a sweep of the country’s two major volley titles, including the Shakey’s V-League.

Cignal struggled after taking the opening frame with no HD Spiker managing to churn out a double-digit score. Herschel Ramos topscored with nine hits with Edmar Bonono and Lorenzo Capate Jr. held to eight points apiece.

The Airmen lost despite ramming in 62 kills against the Rising Suns’ 48 with Jeffrey Malabanan and Edwin Tolentino each finishing with 17 kills and a combined 41-point output in a fast-paced game that featured power spikes off quick sets.

Skipper Dante Alinsunurin added 12 hits while Clarence Esteban and Ruben Inaudito chipped in 10 and nine points, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Cagayan-Air Force duel will be shown at 10:30 Wednesday on PTV 4 while the PLDT-Cignal clash will be telecast Thursday.

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