MANILA, Philippines -- Though proud of their achievement in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference, the Cignal HD Spikers have their sights set on a breakthrough finals appearance.
The HD Spikers finished third in both the Open Conference and the Invitational, each time starting their campaign strong but falling short of their ultimate goal.
In the Invitational, they won their first four games but faltered heading into the semis with players in health and safety protocols. A thrilling come-from-behind win against PLDT in the bronze medal match ensured their podium finish.
"Ito 'yung na-reach namin, ito 'yung binigay sa amin, tatanggapin namin ng sobrang buong-puso, tatanggapin 'tong nangyari na 'to," Cignal HD coach Shaq delos Santos said after their triumph.
For Delos Santos, their performances in the Invitational show the potential in his squad. The HD Spikers were the first team to defeat eventual champions Creamline in the tournament, dropping the Cool Smashers in four sets in their elimination round meeting.
Cignal HD continued to get strong games from veteran Rachel Anne Daquis, while Roselyn Doria proved her worth in the bronze medal match against PLDT. The HD Spikers won the game despite missing top scorer Ces Molina and ace blocker Ria Meneses due to health protocols.
"Sabi ko sa team, it's a good sign, kasi alam natin kung saan tayo pwedeng pumunta," said Delos Santos. "Meron tayong magandang foundation."
The team is now determined to improve upon their back-to-back third place finishes, with Delos Santos stressing that the work must begin in training.
"Ako, as a coach din, talagang kailangan mas maging creative, aggressive pa ako," he said. "Sa team namin, kailangan namin mag-all out pa. Nakita naman din namin 'yung mga kalaban namin."
"Talagang grabe, grabe sila maglaro, grabe sila maghanda. So kung ano man 'yung ginagawa nila, siguro doblehin or triplehin namin para makarating kami sa goal namin," he added.
Their choice of import for the upcoming Reinforced Conference will be pivotal as well. According to Delos Santos, they are already in talks with potential reinforcements but have yet to decide on who they will sign.
"Kailangan quality talaga 'yung makuha, and siyempre, talagang kailangan, kung ano 'yung kulang ng team namin," he said. "Malay natin, 'di ba, siya talaga 'yung maging key para din ma-reach namin 'yung goal namin."