Sports Eye

Cignal HD spikers

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

I NEVER failed to watch a national and international championship clash on television especially if the games being played is among my top ten favorite sports like cycling, boxing, basketball, pingpong (table tennis), volleyball, lawn tennis, baseball, swimming, running (marathon) and mixed martial arts. This time, I was glued again to my chair at home for almost two weeks watching the televised volleyball semifinal match and more importantly, the best-of-three championship series of the Philippine Superliga All Filipino Conference.

Yes, I was coaxed to watch the Cignal HD Spikers squad because it has two lady Pangasinenses in the team: middle blockers Mylene Paat of Barangay Luac, Bani and my town mate Roselyn Doria of Barangay Maasin, Mangaldan. Both contributed greatly that resulted in the upset that dethroned the defending champion Petron Blaze Spikers in a dramatic five-set do-or-die semis match, 30-28, 25-21, 17-25, 23-25 and 15-8 last August 8 at FilOil Flying V Centre. Yes, that was a helluvah match that I couldn’t risk closing my eyes even for a second.. The HD Spikers were really so impressive in the fifth and final set. They pushed their foes to the limit and finally found their groove in the fifth and final set with successful smashing spikes and stifling blocks by the squad (spearheaded by their skipper Rachel Ann Daquis) of Jovelyn Gonzaga, Paat, Doria and Fil-Am Alohi Robins-Hardy who hammered the last nail to seal the semis victory and snapped Petron’s 12-game winning streak. The win advanced them to the championship against the dreaded F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.

I doff my hat to them, particularly  to their head coach Edgar Barroga, for making HD Spikers a finalist for the first time after many tries.

What happened in the semis was very different from what happened in the finals. I saw the HD Spikers trail in the first two sets, 22-25 and 24-26, but fought gallantly in the third and fourth canto to win 25-18 and 25-17. Then they played erratically in the fifth and last set to yield a 15-8 decision to cheers of the Cargo Movers fans.

Unlike the first game, I had expected the HD Spikers to bounce back in the second match to force the third and deciding joust, but it was an all-the-way triumph for the Cargo Movers easily routed the HD Spikers in three sets, 25-14, 25-16 and 25-19, shocking the HD Spikers’ fans {including this writer} and their coach Barroga.

“I was disappointed that our strategy did not work out,” said Barroga after the game declining to elaborate.  But I saw that the Cargo Movers studied their moves well after the first game and perfectly anticipated the HD Spikers plays and plans in the second meeting. I believe the three straight sets suffered by the HD Spikers is proof that they are still raw for a national title win.

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After the 16 year-old James Oranza of Barangay Bayaoas, Mangatarem, won the gold in his category in the prestigious 2019 Asian Taekwondo Championship held on July 18-24 in Amman, Jordan, another Pangasinense emerged champion in this South Korean-invented sport in my barangay mate (Buenlag, Mangaldan), the 13 year-old Alliyah D. Burla. She won the gold in her division in the 17th Haiku City Cup International Cups Taekwondo Championship in China on August 25. She’s the daughter of Allan Burla and the former Mary Ann Domagas.  Mabuhay po kayo.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said to them, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” LUKE 5: 32 

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