Cignal went through the eye of a needle before escaping with a thrilling 22-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20 15-4 victory over Generika on Tuesday in the Asics Philippine Superliga Grand Prix presented by PLDT Home Ultera at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
With import Lynda Morales crashing with a sprained left ankle, the HD Spikers turned to Janine Marciano for firepower to complete the hard-earned win in two hours and five minutes in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Asics, Mueller, Senoh and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcaster.
It was the HD Spikers’ first victory in three games in this battle that also has Focus Athletics, KLab Cyscorpions, Foton, F2 Logistics and Petron as sponsors.
On the other hand, Generika remained in the basement with its fifth consecutive setback.
More than anything, the victory gave the HD Spikers the confidence they badly need after starting the tournament with a pair of setbacks to powerhouses F2 Logistics and Petron.
Marciano, a prized spiker from San Beda College, finally found her rhythm as she delivered 14 kills and three aces for 17 points while import Laura Schaudt, Mylene Paat and Michelle Laborte fired nine points apiece for Cignal, who missed the services of Morales in the first set due to an injury.
“Losing Lynda is somehow a blessing in disguise,” said Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar. “At least the locals stopped relying on our imports and worked on their own. They really showed their fighting heart in this match.”
Acaylar said the victory, although it went the distance, should serve as a major morale-booster for his wards entering their blockbuster showdown against Foton on Thursday.
“I told the team to use this game to gain the confidence we need,” he said. “But we don’t have to be too over-confident. We just have to realize that we are also strong and we can win over other strong teams in the league.”
With Morales hitting the shower room early, middle blockers Paat and Laborte stepped up big time, especially in the fourth set where their defensive tenacity made it hard for import Darlene Ramdin and Ria Meneses to operate.
Ramdin and Meneses finished with 14 points each for Generika, which opted to field young playmaker Angelica Legacion instead of proven veteran Rubie de Leon.
Although Legacion connected well with the spikers as she registered 31 excellent sets, her heroics were not enough as Generika committed 42 errors compared to the Cignal’s 37. The HD Spikers also did well from the service box, hitting eight aces.
(FilOil Flying V Center)
3 pm – Cignal vs Foton
5 pm – Petron vs F2 Logistics
7 pm – Generika vs RC Cola-Army