Short-handed Cignal still proves too much for also-ran Victoria Sports UST
Jheck Dionela and the HD Spikers score their fourth win in eight outings. 

SHORT-HANDED Cignal overpowered lowly Victoria Sports-UST, 25-21, 25-16, 25-14, on Saturday in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Import Alexis Matthews showed the way as the HD Spikers completed their eliminations assignements at 4-4 for fourth spot, arranging a quarterfinal showdown with fifth-seed Cocolife on Thursday.

Matthews, the 6-foot-3 American middle blocker from Michigan State, had 13 kills and six blocks for 19 points, while Honey Royse Tubino chipped in eight markers for the HD Spikers.

Jovelyn Gonzaga is out with a knee injury last week while Rachel Anne Daquis is still in the hospital after being diagnosed with dengue fever.

Cignal coach George Pascua said while the victory boosts their confidence for the next round, local players such as Janine Marciano, Mylene Paat, Paneng Mercado and Tubino must all step up and deliver the numbers.

“I’m happy with our performance, but the locals must step up,” said Pascua, adding that over-confidence nearly doomed their chances in the first set where the Tigresses erected a 20-15 lead before Matthews buckled down to work.

“Everybody is performing well and meets our expectations during training. But we should apply what we train and play a notch higher during actual games because things will start to get tough as we enter the quarterfinals.”

Carla Sandoval scored 10 and Dimdim Pacres added nine for the Tigresses, who bowed out of the tournament winless in eight matches.

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