Cignal’s Bryan Bagunas during a showdown with Criss Cross in Spikers Turf.–SPIKERS’ TURF PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines —  In a keenly awaited showdown, Bryan Bagunas outdueled Marck Espejo as Cignal came back to outlast Criss Cross, 20-25, 25-15, 23-25, 25-23, 15 12, before a big Sunday crowd at Philsports Arena in Pasig.

Facing a setback when Bagunas briefly succumbed to cramps, the HD Spikers found themselves trailing the King Crunchers after three sets.

With the HD Spikers trailing after three sets, Bagunas battled through a case of cramps, and with Jau Umandal providing solid support–they orchestrated a stunning turnaround–forcing a decider between the two unbeaten teams.

READ: Bryan Bagunas immediately joins Cignal in Spikers’ Turf

Bagunas outshone Espejo in the final set, delivering five crucial points to finish with 27 while Umandal sealed the victory with a thunderous blow.

“Ako bilang bago sa team, gusto ko naman talagang makatulong sa team. Nangibabaw yung mentality ko na makatulong sa team,” said Bagunas, who is fresh off consecutive title runs in Taiwan.

Bryan Bagunas Cignal Spikers' Turf

Bryan Bagunas.–SPIKERS’ TURF PHOTO

Umandal finished with 20 points, 19 of which came from attacks, to help extend Cignal’s run to five while dealing Criss Cross its first defeat after four straight wins, resulting in a tie with the D’Navigators.

Wendel Miguel had 10 points, while JP Bugaoan and Mark Calado had eight and six points, respectively for Cignal.

Jude Garcia led the King Crunchers with 20 points on 15 attacks and five blocks to go along with 21 excellent receptions while Espejo, the former HD Spiker, delivered 19 points on 15 attacks, three blocks, and one service ace.

READ: Cignal gets Bagunas after losing Espejo in Spikers’ Turf

Meanwhile,  PGJC-Navy extended its winning run to five games after dispatching VNS-Nasty, 25-14, 25-16, 25-21, to rise to a 5-1 record.

Joeven Dela Vega tallied 20 points on 16 attacks, two blocks, and two aces to bolster the Sealions’ semifinal bid.

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“Very proud ako sa kanya kasi talagang makikita mo yung aggressiveness niya, talagang nandoon yung tulong niya sa team,” said Navy coach George Pascua.

The Sealions trailed the Griffins, 15-17, in the third frame before mounting a comeback fueled by Peter Quiel’s pivotal 6-0 run. From there, the Navy maintained its momentum, sealing the victory with an attack from Greg Dolor.

“Kumbaga, beyond ‘to sa expectations ko. Kasi madaling pasunurin ‘tong mga ‘to, mga sundalo ‘to kaya ganun kabilis yung proseso ng pag-improve nila. Hopefully, yung consistency namin magamit namin sa mga upcoming games namin,” said Pascua.

Quiel finished with 14 points on nine attacks, four blocks, and one ace to backstop Dela Vega, while Dolor and Omar Lioc chipped in eight and six points, respectively for Navy.



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Jester Bornel scored seven points while Michael Doria, Louise Bartolome, Kenneth Culabat and Wewe Medina had six points apiece for VNS, which slipped to 1-4.



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