MEN’S VOLLEYBALL: PLDT, Cignal, Air Force nail semis berths
Cagayan Valley 6 1
PLDT Home Ultera 5 2
Champion Infinity 4 3
Army 4 3
Air Force 4 3
Cignal 4 3
Fourbees-Cavite 1 6
IEM 0 7
PLDT Home Ultera survived a hard-fighting Instituto Estetico Manila side, hacking out a 25-23, 26-28, 25-18, 25-20 decision to clinch the second semifinal berth in the Spikers’ Turf Season I Open Conference elims at The Arena in San Juan City.
Air Force and Cignal also pulled off victories over Fourbees-Cavite, 25-16, 25-18, 25-20, and Champion Infinity, 25-22, 25-16, 25-21, respectively, to force a four-way tie for third with Army and Champion Infinity at 4-3 at the close of the single round elims of the tightly fought inaugural tournament presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
After the FIVB tiebreak, however, Cignal and Air Force emerged with superior tiebreak ratios of 1.130 and 1.074, respectively, over Army (1.102) and Champion (1.018) to nail the two other berths in the Final Four, led by Cagayan Valley, which topped the elims with a 6-1 slate, and PLDT, which closed out with a 5-2 mark.
Cagayan, PLDT, Army and Air Force will play in another single round robin semis match-up with the top two disputing the crown in the opening conference of the league sponsored by Shakey’s and presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
Mark Gil Alfafara and Kheeno Franco paced the PLDT Ultra Fast Hitters with 14 and 13 hits, respectively, but it was John Paul Torres and Armando Malleon who took charge in the lastr two sets that helped seal them their fifth win against two defeats.
With the match tied after two sets, Torres stepped up the third set by firing eight hits before Malleon scattered six crucial hits in the fourth to anchor the Ultra Fast Hitters’ victory.
“Our bench players were really huge in this game, they helped the team a lot,” said PLDT coach Odjie Mamon.
Cignal, on the other hand, drew a combined 51-hit output from Lorenzo Capate Jr., Alexis Faytaren, Edmar Bonono and Bonjomaer Castel as the HD Spikers overpowered their Active Smashers, 54-34, in spikes.
Earlier, Air Force dominated Cavite with Edwin Tolentino and Ruben Inaudito leading the attack with 17 and 14 hits, respectively. Jeffrey Malabanan added nine points while Clarence Esteban and skipper Dante Alisunurin chipped in four markers apiece.
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