MANILA, Philippines -- After seeing limited action on Wednesday, Cignal HD stars Rachel Anne Daquis and Ria Meneses intend to play in Game 2 of their third-place series in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.
The HD Spikers will have their backs against the wall after losing in four sets to the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in Game 1. Meneses only played in the second set of that match, while Daquis sat out the first set before entering late in the second frame.
According to Cignal HD coach Shaq delos Santos, both players wanted to suit up despite dealing with pain. Daquis had suffered an injury in their do-or-die semifinal game against PetroGazz, while Meneses has been dealing with a knee issue.
"'Yung mga players din namin, to be honest, meron talagang masasakit. But, of course, pinipilit din talaga na lumaban ng mga players namin," delos Santos said after a 17-25, 21-25, 25-21, 22-25 setback to the Flying Titans.
Delos Santos told both Daquis and Meneses to stay ready, but opted to be cautious with their middle blocker.
"Meron siyang pain sa tuhod," he said of Meneses. "[Pero] talagang pinipilit niya ako. Pero sabi ko, 'Ri, mahaba pa 'yung tatahakin natin, hindi lang 'tong liga na 'to'."
Daquis, for her part, entered late in the second set and made an immediate impact, helping the HD Spikers rally from a big deficit before the Flying Titans closed out the set. Her presence energized her teammates, however, and they seized the third frame to extend the match.
"Iba talaga 'yung fighting spirit niya," delos Santos said of Daquis. "'Sige coach,' sabi niya, 'Ipasok mo ako diyan.' So parang sabi ko, sige mag-ready ka lang, ita-timing ko 'yung pasok mo."
"So kaya nga noong una ko siyang pinasok, nasa serve siya, and then defense para lang ma-warm up din siya. Kasi ayaw ko naman na biglang, palo kaagad," he added.
Both players will be in action on Friday when they play Choco Mucho again, said delos Santos.
"Nag-sabi na [si Meneses] na sa next game, maglalaro siya," said the coach. "So sabi ko sige, magpa-recover lang mabuti. Sabi ko doon sa PT, alagaan din mabuti. Definitely, maglalaro siya ng Game 2."
A victory by Choco Mucho will seal for them a third-place finish in the Open Conference. If Cignal HD wins, the fate of the series will depend on the championship match between PetroGazz and Creamline, where the Cool Smashers lead 1-0.