Cagayan Valley edges Cignal in five sets to stay unbeaten in Spikers Turf
Marck Espejo and the Rising Suns score their fifth victory in as many outings. Freddie Dionisio

CAGAYAN Valley overcame Cignal, 25-23, 18-25, 22-25, 31-29, 15-12, on Sunday to close in on an elimination-round sweep in the Spikers' Turf Season at The Arena in San Juan City.

Already assured of the semifinals, the Rising Suns still went for the win, taking the match in two hours and four minutes for their fifth win in five outings. They have two more matches in their elims schedule.

The Rising Suns lost by four in power spikes, 69-73, fell one block short, 11-12, and matched the HD Spikers two aces. They also fell short in excellent sets, 33-39, but produced the hits that mattered most in the clutch.

UAAP MVP Marck Espejo unloaded 29 hits, including five blocks, while Jan Paglinawan and Peter Torres tossed in 14 and 10 points, respectively and Rudy Gatdula, Rex Intal and skipper Warren Pirante combined for 21 markers to anchor the Rising Suns’ fifth straight victory.

Lorenzo Capate Jr. fired 26 kills for a 27-hit performance and drew solid back-up from Reyson Fuentes and Edmar Bonono, who both delivered 18 points, and Alexis Faytaren added 13 markers. But the HD Spikers struggled after missing wrapping it up in four and lost steam in the decider.

The loss snapped Cignal’s three-win run after back-to-back losses and at 3-3 paved the way for a wide open battle for the last three semis spots in the inaugural staging of the league presented by PLDT Home Ultera.

PLDT and Air Force tote identical 3-1 cards while Champion Infinity is in fifth with a 2-2 slate and Army is half-a-game behind at 2-3 heading to the last four playdates of the event.

Meanwhile, the Cagayan-Cignal match will shown at 10:30 tonight on PTV 4 while the PLDT-Champion Infinity duel will be aired tomorrow, according to the organizing Sports Vision.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph