by Kristel Satumbaga
Cignal and Megabuilders bested their respective semifinal opponents yesterday and forged a championship duel in the men’s division of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
The HD Spikers swept the Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls, 25-21, 25-18, 25-20, to book their fourth finals appearance, while the Volley Bolts ousted defending champions Air Force Jet Spikers, 25-23, 25-22, 26-24, in Game 2 of their respective semis affairs.
The title showdown is a best-of-three affair.
In Game 1 last Saturday, Cignal edged Sta. Elena, 25-16, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, while Megabuilders survived Air Force, 19-25, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24, 15-10.
Lorenzo Capate fired 11 points and former collegiate standouts Ysay Marasigan and Peter Torres added 10 points each for Cignal which is out to redeem itself after its failed bid the last time,
Capate and Torres led the HD Spikers’ offensive charge by combining for 20 of the team’s 45 attacks.
Fauzi Ismail and Kim Malabunga, meanwhile, stepped up for Megabuilders with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
They highlighted their show with19 kills to negate the effort of Ranran Abdilla for Air Force.
Abdilla pumped in all his 21 points in attacks.
Air Force’s defeat was helped largely by its 28 unforced errors.
In women’s play, Pocari Sweat warded off the strong challenge of Hair Fairy Air Force and pulled a thrilling 25-22, 16-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12 victory to force a rubber match in their semis series.
Myla Pablo sizzled with 22 points built on 20 kills and two blocks, while Jeanette Panaga added 18 points on 12 hits, three blocks, and three aces.
Panaga struck heavily in the deciding frame as she helped shatter a 9-all count on the way to winning Game 2 of their best-of-three semis series.
Game 3 is on Wednesday also at the same venue.