SnL Letran gets outmatched by Cignal’s second stringers, heads to Bronze match on Friday

By: Jerod Orcullo
December 12, 2023

SnL Letran ends their semifinals with a loss against the Cignal HD Spikers. Photo courtesy of Spiker's Turf.

Saints and Lattes-Letran capped off their semifinals campaign with a tough loss against the Cignal HD Spikers, 10-25, 18-25, 20-25, in the Spikers’ Turf Invitational Conference at the Philsports Arena earlier today.

The Muralla-based spikers will face Maruichi Hyogo in the Bronze Medal match this coming Friday, December 15 at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan at 3:30 PM.

In a rematch of their earlier bout in November, Cignal once again sat out a majority of its starting unit as it looked at the second stringers to carry them to victory.

Despite an utterly dominating performance by Cignal’s star-studded lineup, Bem-Bem Bautista continued his impressive play with 12 points for Letran backed by Vince Himzon’s 11 markers.

Cignal came in blazing hot jumping to a four to nil lead against Letran, this forced Coach Brian Esquibel to call an early timeout to regroup however the white shirts stood no match against the veteran-laden squad surrendering the opening calvo, 10-25.

With the convincing first set loss at the back of their minds the intramuros-based squad tallied more of a fight that benefited heavily from their opponent’s errors (7) but the HD Spikers cleaned up their act and pounced on Letran’s poor receiving to clinch a decider, 18-25.

The Coach Dexter-led squad got off to their usual start, 3-9, through the mishaps of their counterparts, Bautista and Himzon looked unfazed as they spearheaded their team’s play to claw back into the contest.

A quick 4-0 run saw Saints and Lattes-Letran trim a six-point advantage to two, 17-19, poised to get, at the very least, a set against the juggernaut that is the HD Spikers.

Alfred Valbuena took it upon themself with three of his team’s last six points, putting an end to Letran’s misery with a sweep and allowing his squad to enter the Finals with no stains, 21-25.

Valbuena’s impressive performance gave him the Player of the Game nod as he ended the contest with a 14-point outing off of 12 attacks and 2 aces. Chu Njigha, Mark Calado, and Lloyd Josafat also chimed in double-digit games with 13 and 11, respectively.