Cocolife bucks Cignal fightback
Cocolife survived a furious fightback by an undermanned Cignal side in the third set as it pounded out a 25-22, 25-21, 28-26 victory yesterday to clinch the third semifinal berth in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Serbian imports Marta Drpa and Sara Klisura delivered the goods while Erika Alkuino came through with the match-clinching block as the Asset Managers joined the fancied F2 Logistics and Petron squads in the Final Four of the tournament bankrolled by Isuzu and UCPB Gen with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner.
Cocolife will face Petron in the best-of-three semis while the top seeded Cargo Movers will take on the winner of the other quarters match pitting Foton and Sta. Lucia Realty being played at presstime.
Coming in as a replacement for American Taylor Milton, Drpa came up with 11 digs and accounted for four of the Asset Managers’ eight blocks. She also hammered in 15 kills to finish with game-high 19 points.
Klisura chipped in 14 kills and two aces for 16 points while providing the defensive muscle down the stretch together with Alkuino, who foiled Rachel Anne Daquis’ attack that sealed the victory for the Asset Managers.
It was a sorry loss for the HD Spikers, who came into the match without injured import Sonja Milanovic and head coach Edgar Barroga, who is in the ongoing Palarong Pambansa in Vigan City with the National U boys’ team.
They also lost spiker Janine Navarro midway through the third set due to injury.
Still, Cocolife coach Moro Branislav found Cignal a tough team Milanovic “Believe to beat. played. me, I Cignal like it came better into if this match with a totally different psychology,” said Branislav, whose wards found themselves in trouble after Daquis ripped in a powerful kill to put Cignal ahead, 26-25, in the third frame.
But Klisura responded with a strong kill to force another deuce game before watching setter Acy Masangkay fumble on her attack that set the stage for Alkuino’s matchclinching block.
Branislav said this kind of character makes him believe that they are ready against Petron, a powerful team that is looking to win its first Grand Prix crown after three straight years of bridesmaid finishes. “We are ready for the semifinals contra Petron,” he said. “The next two to three days will be very crucial to our championship campaign. We will prepare hard for them.” Jeane Horton tallied 17 points while Daquis chipped in 12 markers for Cignal, who still managed to come up with a very good fight despite opening its campaign without a handful of players like Jovelyn Gonzaga and Janine Marciano, who crashed with a knee injury last year.
Acy Masangkay of Cignal hits the floor to keep the ball in play during their quarters clash with Cocolife in the Superliga GP at the Filoil Flying V Center.