Cignal TV Inc. and Air Force hope to come out strong coming off a week-long break as they gun for win No. 2 and the solo lead even as PLDT Home Ultera and Sta. Elena shoot for their first win in the Spikers’ Turf Season 1-Reinforced Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Cignal HD Spikers slowed down the PLDT Ultra Fast Hitters and came away with a 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 victory last Sunday to join opening day winners Air Force and Navy in the early lead of the season-ending conference of the country’s premier men’s volley league presented by PLDT Home Ultera.
The Airmen and the Sailors eked out a pair of four-setters to launch their title campaign in the tournament sponsored by Mikasa with the former holding off the Instituto Estetico Manila Volley Masters, 25-19, 25-27, 25-22, 25-20, and the latter thwarting the debuting Sta. Elena Construction Wrecking Balls, former Champion Infinity, 25-21, 21-25, 25-19, 25-18.
Cignal coach Michael Cari-o is expected to pin his hopes again on Lorenzo Capate Jr., Edward Yba-ez and Edmar Bonono, who combined for 35 hits, setter Ralph Diezmo and Alexis Faytaren and Herschel Ramos for added firepower as they seek the lead in the short, single round tournament among six teams.
But the Airmen are also out to nail their second win behind open spiker Alnakran Abdilla, top blocker Reyson Fuentes, Jeffrey Malabanan, Edwin Tolentino, Mike Abria and Arvin Avila along and setter Jessie Lopez.
That guarantees an action-packed duel in the 5 p.m. main game of an explosive twinbill, which also features the PLDT-Sta. Elena faceoff at 3 p.m.
Though they stumbled in their first crack in the league, the Wrecking Balls remain confident of their chances with coach Arnold Laniog expected to come up with adjustments and lean on again on the likes of Alnasip Laja, Rocky Honrade, Nestor Molate, Christian Arbasto and Myco Antonio.
But the Ultra Fast Hitters, led by Mark Alfafara, Kheeno Franco, Henry Peca-a, Jay Galang and Berlin Paglinawan, also vowed to strike back and get into the mix.
Meanwhile, the PLDT-Sta. Elena match will be aired on Monday on PTV-4 starting at 4 p.m. while the Cignal-Air Force clash will be telecast on Tuesday. Games are also shown on Saturdays at 9:15 p.m., according to the organizing Sports Vision.