CIGNAL turned to its familiarity in each other to turn back North Cotabato, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12, and claim the men's gold of the Philippine Volleyball Federation Champions League Sunday night at the Philsports Arena.
Marck Espejo had four blocks for a 21-point showing, while JP Bugaoan added 20 points, including the championship-clinching point for the HD Spikers. Bugaoan, who went 15-of-25 attacks, also had a match-best five blocks.
"We were very happy. All the hard work for this 2022 paid off with all that we went through, all the misunderstandings and internal problems. But before we end the year, somehow we were able to fix it and we made a lot of effort," said Cignal coach Dexter Clamor.
"We deserve to be the champions despite all the hardships," he added.
The HD Spikers took a lot of effort to reach the top of the tournament supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Rebisco, PLDT, Philippine Olympic Committee, Cignal HD, One Sports, Cignal Play, F2 Logistics and Amigo Entertainment.
Cignal placed second behind PGJC-Navy in Pool A with a 4-1 record and needed five sets to beat Bacolod City in the quarterfinals. The HD Spikers swept Imus City in the semifinals to arrange a Finals duel with the G-Spikers.
North Cotabato led by as many as three points in the deciding set but could not get the job done when it mattered, as Cignal banked on its chemistry to pull through in the intense two-hour, seven-minute match.
"This championship is the best Christmas present for all of us," said Espejo.
Jao Umandal led the G-Spikers with 26 points, while John Vic de Guzman added 25 points, including two blocks.
Earlier, KMS-Quezon City secured the bronze medal with a 25-21, 24-26, 21-25, 25-19, 15-9 win over Imus City.