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Cignal outlasts Air Force in Game 1

Games Tuesday
(Philsports Arena, Pasig City)
10 a.m. – Sta. Elena vs Army
1 p.m. – Air Force vs Cignal

Cignal bucked a slow start and turned back powerhouse Air Force, 18-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19, in the opening of their championship series in the Premier Volleyball League men’s tournament yesterday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

The HD Spikers appeared headed to another disappointing show after a tentative start, but Lorenzo Capate rose to the occasion in the second set as he, Peter Torres and Ysay Marasigan produced telling blows – thanks to brilliant combination plays.

That was the start of their recovery which they sustained to gain a head start in their best-of-three title series.

It was a sweet revenge for Cignal, which lost to Air Force in the preliminaries, 30-28, 25-19, 25-21.

Cignal Coach Oliver Almadro credited his team’s improved confidence for the win stronger and taller Air Force crew.

“I just told them to attack and defend aggressively. Kasi yung Air Force, malakas talaga eh. Malalaki,” said Almadro, whose squad prevailed over Sta. Elena, 2-1, for a spot in the finals.

“Gigil sila nung first set because they lost the preliminaries to Air Force. Pero the good thing about my players is they were able to adjust quickly,” he added.

Capate finished with 15 points built on 11 kills, two blocks and two aces, while Torres chipped in 11 points.

Marasigan also stepped up with 10 points, all coming from attacks.

National University standouts Bryan Bagunas and Kim Malabunga scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, for Air Force.

Game 2 is on Tuesday at the same venue with Cignal seeking its second title in the league.

Cignal is out to even things after losing twice to Air Force in two finals meetings last year. Cignal beat Air Force two years ago.