Cignal humbles Iriga » Manila Bulletin Sports

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Cignal's Jovelyn Gonzaga  (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Cignal’s Jovelyn Gonzaga (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

MALOLOS CITY — Cignal banked on its rock-solid defense to dominate Iriga City, 26-24, 25-23, 25-17, Saturday in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center here.

Jovelyn Gonzaga provided the spark, but it was the imposing defensive presence of imports Beth Carey of Australia and Alexis Matthews of United States and Paneng Mercado that did the damage for the HD Spikers in this prestigious club league bankrolled by Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller, Grand Sport, Rebisco, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen.

Gonzaga fired 15 kills while Carey and Matthews delivered 10 markers apiece as the HD Spikers controlled the blocking department, 8-1, in this battle that also has Gold’s Gym and Gerflor as technical sponsors and ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.

With the win, the HD Spikers shared the fourth spot with idle Generika-Ayala with a 2-3 win-loss card and stepped back on the winning track following a pair of setbacks to Petron and Cocolife, respectively.

“We all know that we came from back-to-back losses so we wanted to come back stronger,” said Gonzaga, who stepped up in the absence of star spiker Rachel Anne Daquis who was nursing a bruised knee.

Despite losing Grethcel Soltones to a one-year suspension, the Lady Oragons came out firing early on.

Serbian import Tamara Kmezic waxed hot at the attack zone, towing the Lady Oragons to a 21-19 lead in the crucial stretch of the first set.

But Gonzaga delivered back-to-back hits followed by an attack error by the 6-foot-7 Serbian opposite that gave the first set victory and the momentum to the HD Spikers, much to the delight of a massive weekend crowd in this historic city.

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