Volleyball: Espejo explodes for 43, tows Cignal to Spikers' Turf crown


Posted at Oct 23 2019 05:06 PM

Cignal HD celebrated its second crown of the Spikers' Turf season. Photo courtesy of Sports Vision

MANILA, Philippines -- Marck Espejo's historic night lifted Cignal HD to a hard-earned 21-25, 25-22, 24-26, 25-16, 15-6 triumph over Go for Gold-Air Force in Game 2 of the Spikers' Turf Open Conference finals, Tuesday at the Paco Arena.

His explosive scoring performance helped the HD Spikers secure the title -- and complete a 10-game tournament sweep.

Espejo, who was named as the Finals MVP after the series, now holds the record of most points in league history after tallying 43 big points founded on 33 attacks, eight hits, and two kill blocks laced with 22 excellent receptions and eight digs.

The previous scoring record in the league was Howard Mojica's 41-point outing last August 19, 2015 when Emilio Aguinaldo College faced Ateneo de Manila University.

With Air Force looking to extend the series, the HD Spikers did not bend and leaned on Espejo to clinch the fourth frame and forge a fifth set.

The four-time league MVP, who previously dropped 55 points in a UAAP game back in April 21, 2018, then fired five points in the HD Spikers’ 9-3 blast to take a six-point advantage midway through the final set. 

Air Force then managed to trim the lead down to four off a hit from Rikko Marmetto and an attack error from Espejo. 

Espejo would not be denied, however. The former Ateneo superstar scored five of Cignal's last sixh points to seal the HD Spikers' double gold.

"Sobrang happy and overwhelming, hindi namin lubos maisip na kami pa rin magcha-champion kasi ang daming nawala e. Nagpapasalamat ako siyempre kay Lord kasi binigay niya sa amin 'to," said Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor.

Ysay Marasigan chipped in 11 points in the title-clinching victory, while long-time HD Spiker Edmar Bonono also added 11 markers and nine digs.

Vince Mangulabnan steered the offense with 30 excellent sets, while Manuel Sumanguid led the defense with 15 excellent receptions and 10 digs.

Air Force, who surrendered their second straight crown to Cignal, was led by Ran Abdilla with 18 points.

Fauzi Ismail had 16 markers, while Francis Saura and Kim Malabunga finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Rikko Marmeto tallied 28 excellent receptions and 18 digs in the loss, while Jessie Lopez ended with 22 excellent sets.

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