Cignal deals RC Cola-Air Force third loss in a row, completes first round sweep of PSL
Cignal import Ariel Usher scores a conference-high 36 points. Freddie Dionisio  

CIGNAL completed a first round sweep of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix after demolishing RC Cola-Air Force, 25-19, 24-26, 25-23, 25-17, on Sunday at the Astrodome.

The team improved its record to 5-0 as import Ariel Usher scored a conference-high of 36 points, scattered from 29 hits, one block and six service aces.

“Because we’re almost complete and the most important thing is we have a good bonding,” said Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar, whose team bombed out in the previous conference after finishing runner-up in the first two editions of the league.

Usher’s fellow American import Amanda Anderson chipped in 14 while skipper Micmic Laborte added 10.

“I always tell the locals na hindi pwede mag-focus sa import lang kailangan contribute ang lahat,” said Acaylar. “We should always help the import.”

The veteran mentor was pleased to see the locals heed his call as April Hingpit registered 14 of the team’s 18 excellent sets, while Bacolod recruit Fritz Gallenero and pint-sized libero Jeck Dionela each had five excellent digs.

“The locals have the heart and most importantly they enjoy (playing) a lot,” he said.

From a 13-10 contest in the fourth set, Cignal pulled away, 20-11, behind Usher's four points and RC Cola’s three turnovers.

The Raiders cut down the deficit at 14-20, but Anderson quickly stopped the momentum, 22-14, before Usher scored back-to-back spikes to seal the victory for Cignal.

Puero Rican reinforcement Lynda Morales made 19 points for RC Cola-Air Force, while American import Sara McClinton and skipper Judy Ann Caballejo added 14 markers apiece.

The Raiders absorbed their third consecutive loss after starting the conference on a winning note.

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