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HD Spikers remain kings of Spikers’ Turf with a series of King Crunchers
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HD Spikers remain kings of Spikers’ Turf with a series of King Crunchers

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Cignal reaffirmed its dominance in men’s volleyball, reaffirming its status as the sport’s unrivaled powerhouse. With a 25-23, 27-25, 25-21 win over Criss Cross in front of an electrified crowd at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum Friday, the HD Spikers captured another Spikers’ Turf Open Conference crown, leaving no doubt as to who reigns there. supreme.

Despite the valiant efforts of Criss Cross, Cignal showed his steadfast determination and unparalleled skill throughout the match. Led by the dynamic duo of Bryan Bagunas and Jau Umandal, and backed by stellar performances from Wendel Miguel, JP Bugaoan and Nastin Gwaza, the HD Spikers demonstrated a masterclass in strength, teamwork and tenacity.

Their victory was all the more impressive considering the setback of Umandal’s injury in the third set. Despite the setback of seeing their teammate leave the court on a stretcher with the score tied at 17, Cignal rallied and unleashed a decisive 8-4 final run to take the set, the match and the championship with a 2-0 series sweep.

Their fiery excitement was punctuated by a pair of clutch kill blocks, with Bagunas fittingly sealing the victory with a stinging strike into the back row.

Reflecting on their triumph, Bagunas expressed his joy, especially as it marked his first year at Cignal, following his stint at Taiwanese club Win Streak, where he secured back-to-back league titles.

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“Napakasaya kasi unang year ko pa lang sa Cignal, nag champion na,” said Bagunas, who was named Finals MVP after scoring 26 points and 12 receptions in the first game and 22 points, including five aces and eight receptions in the clincher, had buried.

He also acknowledged the growing popularity of men’s volleyball in the country and urged fans to continue supporting the sport and the competition.

“I think the fans of men’s volleyball are fans. Manood lagi kayo at sana tuloy-tuloy ang suporta niyo,” Bagunas told fans.

However, the decisive moment came in the second set, when Cignal made a stunning comeback from 17-20 down. With Bagunas and Miguel in the lead, aided by errors from Criss Cross, the HD Spikers took the score to 21, paving the way for a nail-biting finish full of adrenaline-pumping exchanges and challenges.

Despite Criss Cross’ courageous stand, Cignal’s indomitable spirit prevailed. Umandal’s precision strikes and Bagunas’ towering presence gave Cignal a hard-fought 24-23 lead. Despite the King Crunchers’ valiant efforts to avoid defeat, Cignal’s determination ultimately sealed the set and a commanding 2–0 lead in the match that was close all match.

The third witnessed a similar story, with Criss Cross coming up early and then being met by Cignal’s trademark comebacks.

Umandal had a spectacular game of 18 points at a high clip of 16 from 23 in attacks, while also getting a block and a service ace before the incident.

Bugaoan also scored 11 points, built on three blocks for Cignal.

With the victory, Cignal secured its second consecutive Open crown and seventh place overall, further cementing its reputation as the country’s premier volleyball powerhouse.

Marck Espejo paced the silver medalists King Crunchers with 17 points, 11 receptions and three digs.

Jude Garcia scored 13 points while Kim Malabunga added 11 in the losing cause.

In the battle for third place, PJGC-Navy secured the bronze medal despite losing four sets to the D’Navigators earlier. While both teams traded wins in four sets, the Sealions emerged victorious on a points tiebreaker.

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