Imus stuns NU-Pasay, Cignal dodges upset axe

IMUS City pulled off a 20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 reversal of National University-Pasay to advance to the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League men’s semifinals on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at the Philsports Arena.

A team which was formed a week before the competition, the Cavite-based spikers played with a lot of intensity to avenge their 23-25, 29-27, 14-25, 25-27 loss to the Bulldogs in pool play.

“What we did is we studied their weaknesses,” said Imus coach Sammy Acaylar. “I just told them to play and I’ll take care of our team’s strategies.”

Madz Gampong, playing against his college team, delivered the goods for Imus, which will face the winner of the quarterfinals match between Cignal and Bacolod City in the semis 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.

“Gampong is Gampong. He is one of the best players before and who would have thought, he has a day job right now and he is still strong. I saw his potential and his jumping abilities,” said Acaylar.

Together with Ronniel Rosales, Gampong won last year’s inaugural Champions League gold for Team Dasma at the Lipa City bubble and hopes to do it again for Imus.

“Me and Ronniel have the heart of being a champion. It is in the mindset,” said Gampong.

The other men’s semifinal pits PGJC-Navy and North Cotabato at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12.

The gold medal match is on Sunday, Nov. 13.

Imus City is the lowest-ranked team which made it to the semis, being one of the two best third-placers.

The HD Spikers dodged the upset axe, rallying from 1-2 set deficit to prevail.

“We lost our reception in the first three. Our defense was gone, our system when it comes to blocking was gone also,” said coach Dexter Clamor. “So we made an adjustment, we saw our middles effective and we were able to maximize it.” (PR)