CIGNAL exacted sweet revenge over PLDT Air Force following its stunning 25-23, 26-24, 25-19 win Friday night to win the men’s title of the Philippine Super Liga at the Astrodome.
The HD Spikers, who bowed to the Power Attackers during the All Filipino Conference Finals in straight sets, crushed the former two-time champion in just an hour and 33 minutes as they put a stop to PLDT’s long 18-game winning streak.
“Hindi ko ma-explain ang nararamdaman ko. Sweet revenge. First time ko mag champion as head coach tapos PSL pa,” said Cignal coach Macky Carino.
"'Yung ganyang klaseng laban para akong nanalo sa lotto. Inexpect ko na mananalo kami pero hindi ganito (na three sets)," he added.
San Beda alum and best opposite spiker Gilbert Ablan scored 20 points for Cignal, while MVP and second best outside spiker Lorenzo Capate Jr. added 15.
The HD Spikers had the game in full control before they reached match point, 24-18.
Jeffrey Malaban saved match point, 19-24, but Cignal won’t be denied as Ablan went for the kill to clinch the championship.
"Si Ablan sa past game namin medyo nangangapa siya, kinausap namin saiya, sabi namin kung lalaruin mo lang ang laro mo magiging maganda ang resulta. Kaya kita niyo naman kanina," said Carino.
Cignal imposed its might early in the match, racing to a 4-0 lead and a 16-10 gap halfway through the opening set.
But the Power Attackers closed in at 23-24 behind a 6-0 blast, before Reyson Fuentes blocked Ron Jay Galang to clinch the set for Cignal.
The HD Spikers then took a 2-0 lead after likewise claiming the second set to move closer to the title.
"Sa past two practices namin pinag-aralan talaga namin lahat ng galaw ng kalaban, kaya kita mo naman kanina basa namin ang galaw nila, bawat palo nila naba-block namin," said Carino, whose team dominated the net with 11 blocks to the five of PLDT.
Last conference's MVP Ranran Abdilla made 18 points for PLDT Air Force, while Rodolfo Labrador added nine.
"Napaghandaan talaga nila kami," said PLDT Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez. "One week kami nag practice ng blocking pero nalulusutan kami. Flat start pa nag start kami 0-4 agad. Maganda din ang nilaro ng kalaban."
Other individual awardees outside of Ablan and Capati Jr. include Abdilla (first best outside spiker), Antonio Torres of Cavite (first best middle blocker), Fuentes (second best middle blocker), Alegro Carpio of Cavite(best setter), and Sandy Domenik Montero of Cignal (best libero).