May 08, 2024

Bagunas fires Cignal to brink of Open title

Bryan Bagunas, in a scintillating display of skill and determination, propelled Cignal to a commanding start in the 2024 Spikers' Turf Open Conference Finals, unloading 26 points as the HD Spikers defeated the Criss Cross King Crunchers in four fiercely-contested sets, 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum Wednesday night.

Bagunas, a former league MVP, showcased his unparalled talent by tallying 23 attacks, two kill blocks and an ace.

The Taiwan league champion’s defensive prowess was also on full display with an impressive 12-excellent reception performance, underscoring his versatility and huge contribution to the team.

The victory not only served as sweet redemption for Cignal following its semifinal setback that foiled its sweep bid but also positioned the HD Spikers within touching distance of yet another championship glory.

Cignal head coach Dexter Clamor expressed profound gratitude towards Bagunas for his pivotal role while highlighting the collective effort of the entire team.

“Sobrang grateful ako na meron kaming Bryan Bagunas, who can perform well in crucial situations. Sobrang nagpapasalamat ako hindi lang kay Bryan kasi it’s a total team effort,” said Clamor.

While the initial sets hinted at a closely-contested battle, the HD Spikers asserted their dominance as the game progressed, firmly seizing control and edging closer to nailing their second consecutive Open Conference crown.

Cignal goes for the clincher on Friday at the same venue while Criss Cross aims to re-group and force a sudden death in pursuit of the championship on its very first try.

Storming to a comfortable 19-12 lead in the fourth frame, Cignal never wavered and rolled to a six-point win for the momentum and confidence in the best-of-three series.

“Expected naman na talagang all-out yung both teams. Talagang may gustong patunayan parehas. It’s all about kung sino yung mas prepared, sino yung mas gutom, kung sino yung mas gustong manalo,” said Clamor.

Jau Umandal backed Bagunas with 15 points, defying injury from crashing into the rail while hustling to keep the ball in play. JP Bugaoan and Wendel Miguel added 11 points apiece.

Cian Silang continued to fill in for EJ Casana, tossing 17 excellent sets while Vince Lorenzo registered 16 excellent receptions to complement Bagunas’ fine defensive game.

Marck Espejo led Criss Cross with 22 points, while Jude Garcia finished with 21 points for the King Crunchers, who failed to draw double-digit scores from the rest of their star-studded cast.