MARCK Espejo showed the way as Cignal stunned defending champion Go For Gold-Air Force, 19-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-21, in the opening match of the Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference finals on Friday at the Paco Arena.
Playing despite a shoulder injury, Espejo scored 19 points off 17 attacks and two blocks, while making 18 excellent receptions and four digs as the HD Spikers drew first blood of the best-of-three series.
Jude Garcia scored 14 and Ysay Marasigan added 12 for Cignal. Vince Mangulabanan had 32 excellent sets, while Manuel Sumanguid had 18 receptions and seven digs.
Cignal looks to complete the sweep on Sunday and bag its fourth crown in the league.
"Both teams naghihintayan e, nagkakapaan kung ano yung lalaruin nila, anong lalaruin namin," said Cignal coach Dexter Clamor. "So kami nung second set, wala kaming ibang ginawa kundi pataasin yung intensity pag pasok ng court, nag deliver naman lahat."
Bryan Bagunas led the Jet Spikers with 17 points on 15 attacks and two aces, while making 19 receptions, while Kim Malabunga added 14 markers.
Meanwhile, John Vic De Guzman and Josh Umandal led PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters to victory over Sta. Elena-NU Ball Hammers in the first match of the battle for third.
De Guzman and Umandal showed the way for the Power Hitters with 13 points apiece.
PLDT tries to secure bronze also on Sunday.
Nico Almendras had 18 points for the Ball Hammers.