PVL: Cignal HD Spikers relieved to overcome adversity, reach podium

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2022 04:26 PM

The Cignal HD Spikers celebrate after beating PLDT in the bronze medal match. PVL Media.
The Cignal HD Spikers celebrate after beating PLDT in the bronze medal match. PVL Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- They may not have reached their ultimate goal but finishing in third place was still a reason to celebrate for the Cignal HD Spikers.

In a match that encapsulated their campaign in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference, the HD Spikers had to overcome manpower woes and a two-set deficit before beating the PLDT High Speed Hitters in the bronze-medal match on Sunday.

Without Ces Molina and Ria Meneses due to health and safety protocols, the HD Spikers leaned on a balanced offensive effort to snatch a 17-25, 20-25, 27-25, 25-22, 15-5 triumph. Rachel Anne Daquis had 16 points, Rose Doria added 14, and Jerrili Malabanan added 13 markers for the HD Spikers.

Cignal HD coach Shaq delos Santos was full of praise for the grittiness displayed by his team. The HD Spikers trailed 4-13 in the third set but showed no quit, and proved themselves to be the steadier team in the clutch.

"Sumuot kami sa butas ng karayom," he said. "As in, 'yung pinagdaanan namin kanina, napalitan namin ng magandang ending, which is 'yun naman 'yung goal namin."

For delos Santos, their third place finish is a testament to the mentality of his squad, considering the challenges they had to go through in the conference.

The HD Spikers won their first four games -- including an upset of eventual champion Creamline in the elimination round -- but endured a rough stretch heading into the semis due to personnel issues. Molina dealt with an injury, and a handful of their players were sidelined by the league's health protocol.

"Talagang marami kang challenges na pagdadaanan," Delos Santos said of their campaign. 

"Bago matapos ang elimination, grabe na 'yung pinagdadaanan namin. Hanggang ngayon na meron pa rin kaming nae-encounter na mga challenges," the coach pointed out, as they were still without two key stars in the third-place match.

That they overcame those challenges and recovered from a slow start is "a good sign" for the HD Spikers moving forward, said Delos Santos.

"Alam natin kung saan tayo pwedeng pumunta, dahil meron tayong magandang foundation na tatrabahuhin namin," he said. "Hindi kami magi-stop."

"'Yun talaga 'yung kailangan 'pag binubuo mo 'yung team. Kailangan lang, tuloy-tuloy talaga, na hindi naman siya magiging madali pag binuo mo ang isang team," he added.

The HD Spikers are now setting their sights on the season-ending Reinforced Conference, with Delos Santos already in talks with possible imports for the squad.

"Mas magiging masaya 'tong laban na 'to. Siyempre, madadagdagan ng mga competitive teams," he said.

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