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Cignal seeks semis vs Ateneo

Games today:
(Paco Arena)
2:30 p.m. — Army vs Santa Rosa City
5:30 p.m. — Cignal vs Ateneo-Fudgee Barr

Reeling from a shocking upset that blemished its record, defending champion Cignal shoots for a bounce-back win and a formal entry to the semifinals when it clashes with Ateneo-Fudgee Barr in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference on Thursday at the Paco Arena.

Game time is at 5:30 p.m. following the 2:30 p.m. tussle between Santa Rosa City and also-ran Army.

The HD Spikers are coming off a stunning upset at the hands of Navy, 25-20, 19-25, 22-25, 23-25, last Tuesday that snapped their 16-game winning streak since 2019.

The loss denied Cignal of its first chance to advance to the next round as it slid to a 3-1 win-loss record and forged a tie with its tormentors Sealions.

Cignal has another shot at securing a seat in the Final Four to join unbeaten National University-Sta. Elena but it won’t be a cakewalk against a young and determined Blue Eagles side.

In fact, the Katipunan-based squad is looking forward to challenging the HD Spikers whose main guns are instrumental in Ateneo’s three-peat in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to be able to play against a champion team. We have a lot to gain going against them,” Blue Eagles coach Timothy Sto. Tomas said.

Ateneo will square off with some familiar faces as Cignal is bannered by former Blue Eagles standouts Marck Espejo, Ysay Marasigan, Rex Intal, Chumason Njigha, and Manuel Sumanguid.

Holding a 1-3 card tied with Santa Rosa City, another loss will put Ateneo on the brink of an early exit.

Main weapons Kennedy Batas, Amil Pacinio and Jian Salarzon need to bring their A-game to keep the Blue Eagles’ semifinal hopes alive.

The young Lions, meanwhile, are also in survival mode against the winless Troopers.

Jade Disquitado, Kris Hernandez, Chris Hernandez and Dave Lardizabal of Santa Rosa City will test their mettle against the grizzled veterans in Benjaylo Labide, PJ Rojas and Madzlan Gampong of Army, which is yet to win a game after four outings.

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