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Cignal extended to the limit by Sta. Lucia

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CADIZ CITY — Defending champion Cignal flirted with disaster before foiling Sta. Lucia Realty’s comeback in five sets, 25-18, 26-28, 25-23, 18-25, 15-9, to inch one win closer from bagging an outright semifinal berth in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitation Conference Tuesday before a jampacked crowd at the Cadiz Arena here.

Despite playing cold in the fourth set allowing the Lady Realtors to force a decider, the HD Spikers managed to regroup and catch fire in the fifth set to extend their unbeaten run to a 3-0 win-loss record in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and SOGO Hotel with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.

Rachel Anne Daquis continued to turn back the clock and prove that she still got it after leading the way for Cignal again with 19 points built on 12 attacks, four service aces and three blocks pushing her team just a win closer from taking Pool B’s lone outright semifinals berth in the midseason conference that also has Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller and Grand Sport as technical sponsors.

“My players played hot and cold and were not consistent,” said Cignal Head Coach Edgar Barroga. “In the fifth set, I told my players to play like how we won the first set, where we controlled the game.

“Good thing we were able to execute our plays well in the fifth set,” he added.

Both squads put up a great showdown in front of a roaring Cadiz crowd that is celebrating the city’s 51st Charter Day Bonanza spearheaded by Mayor Dr. Patrick Escalante and Vice Mayor Dr. Lilia Decolongon with the help of CAG Events

After laboring its way to take the 2-1 set lead, Cignal slowed down in the fourth set, allowing MJ Phillips and Pam Lastimosa to lead Sta. Lucia en route to a 21-9 spread.

But Daquis and the HD Spikers did not easily gave up as they cut it down to five, 22-17, only for Lastimosa to nail three of the last four points to force a decider.

Cignal opened the decider with a fiery 8-2 lead before Sta. Lucia trimmed it to 10-7 but the Lady Realtors committed a lot of miscues, including Sabete’s service error that handed the HD Spikers their third straight win.

The Lady Realtors are on the brink of losing their chance in reaching the semifinals as they fell to 1-2 card with another setback would relegate them in the qualification round of 7th to 10th placers.