Lorenzo Capate and Mark Alfafara took over in the clutch as Cignal HD carved out a tough 17-25, 27-25, 27-25, 16-25, 15-10 decision over Air Force yesterday to snare the men’s crown in the Premier Volleyball League Rein-forced Conference at the Philsports Arena.
Capate keyed a crucial three-hit swing capped by an Alfafara’s off-the-block hit to put the HD Spikers at match point on their way to completing their one-hour, 48-minute victory and a sweep of their best-of-three series.
Capate finished with only eight points but gained the Finals MVP honors with Air Force Ranran Abdilla taking the Confe-rence MVP plum. Abdilla actually saved a match point but Cignal skipper Ysay Marasigan came through off a combo play to clinch the championship for the HD Spikers.
Alyssa Valdez shared the spotlight as she cap-tured the Conference MVP crown after powering Creamline to a 25-20, 11-25, 25-20, 25-19 victory over the Power Smashers to clinch third place honors in the women’s side of the season-opening confe-rence of the league orga-nized by Sports Vision.
Valdez, a three-time UAAP and V-League MVP, normed 20.7 points to emerge the top scorer while leading the spiking department with 37.32 percent success. The 23-year-old former Ateneo star, who also claimed the first Best Outside Spiker, also ended up second in service aces while contri-buting 2.47 digs per set.
Other top performers were BaliPure Grethcel Soltones (Second Best Outside Spiker), Risa Sato, also of BaliPure, (First Best Middle Blocker), Pocari Sweat’s Jeanette Panaga (Second Best Middle Blocker), Dimdim Pacres of the Power Smashers (Best Opposite Spiker), BaliPure’s Jasmine Nabor (Best Setter), Po-cari’s Melissa Gohing (Best Libero) and Bali-Pure’s Jennifer Keddy (Best Import).
Earlier, Cignal bounced back strong from a lopsided fourth set loss as it raced to a 6-2 lead in the decider then kept its poise after the Jet Spikers threatened at 7-8 on a Bryan Bagunas’ sharp cross.
The HD Spikers then strung up three straight points on a couple of miscues by the Jet Spikers to go 4-up but Air Force pulled to within two again on a two-point counter by Jessie Lopez.
“I just told them that we have to combine talent with effort and believe that they will win,” said Cignal rookie coach Oliver Almadro of his wards composure and focus in the decider.
Alfafara scored all of his 17 points from attacks, the same output put in by Ateneo star Rex Intal that included four kill blocks and a pair of aces.
Peter Torres and Marasigan had 13 and 12 markers, respectively, for Cignal, which took Game One, 18-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19, last weekend.
Bagunas finished with 23 points, Abdilla had 17 while Kim Malabunga and Fauzi Ismail chipped in with 11 points each for the Jet Spikers.
Army took third place honors with a 26-24, 25-18, 25-19 victory over Sta. Elena, which won Game One in four. The Troopers clinched the podium finish with a higher