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    Cignal stakes unblemished slate against dangerous Foton in Superliga Grand Prix

    Oct 21, 2015
    Ariel Usher is averaging 28,8 points per game for the HD Spikers. Freddie Dionisio

    CIGNAL eyes its fourth win in as many matches when it takes on Foton on Thursday in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix women's volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.

    The HD Spikers stake their immaculate slate when they battle the Tornadoes at 6:15 p.m.

    Philips Gold tries to stretch its win streak to three when it battles RC Cola Air Force in the 4:15 p.m. match.

    Philips Gold dropped its opener to the HD Spikers before scoring back-to-back wins over reigning champion Petron and Meralco for a 2-1 win-loss card.

    Things won’t be easy for Cignal, especially with Foton aching to bounce back from a five-set loss to Petron last week.

    Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar has warned his players against complacency, saying all teams are capable of pulling a surprise.

    He also downplayed speculations they are the team to beat, saying they are still working on their chemistry since most of them are new to the system.

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    "Depende na din sa ganda ng gising yan," said Acaylar, who piloted the HD Spikers to a bridesmaid finish in the league's inaugural conference in 2013.

    "We have to keep on working hard because the league is very balanced. There's no clear-cut favorite this year. We can't afford to relax at baka madisgrasya pa."

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    Ariel Usher, from the University of Portland, has been averaging a whopping 28.8 points per game and will again serve as the focal point of offense, while Amanda Anderson will anchor the defensive end together with veteran Michelle Laborte, Cherry Vivas, April Ross Hingpit and rookie Fritz Gallenero.

    Also expected to draw another huge weekday crowd is the battle between Philips Gold and RC Cola-Air Force.

    The Lady Slammers eked out a 25-19, 21-25, 27-25, 25-23 win over the Power Spikers on Tuesday, with UCLA standout Bojana Todorovic registering 22 kills and a service ace.

    Philips Gold, however, vowed not to rest on its laurels as it will be facing a hungry and determined RC Cola-Air Force, which suffered a four-set defeat to Petron also on Tuesday.

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    "We have to be ready because they will bounce back, that's for sure," said Philips Gold coach Francis Vicente.

    "Mahirap kalaban ang RC Cola-Air Force at this point. Palaban ang team na 'yan. We have to be at our best against them because I'm pretty sure that they will bounce back from that earlier loss to Petron."

    Aside from Todorovic, Vicente is also leaning on import Alexis Olgard with Michelle Gumabao, Myla Pablo, Desiree Dadang and Mel Gohing providing local support against the star-studded crew of Puerto Rican Lynda Morales, Sara McClinton, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz and Judy Caballejo for the Raiders in the tournament presented by Asics and backed by Milo with Mikasa, Senoh and Mueller as technical partners and TV5 as official broadcaster.

    Standings: Cignal 3-0; Philips Gold 2-1; Petron 3-2; Foton 1-1; RC Cola-Air Force 1-1; Meralco 0-5.

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    Ariel Usher is averaging 28,8 points per game for the HD Spikers. Freddie Dionisio
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