Cignal boost in off-season pays off
What a difference a few months made for Cignal HD.
From last place last season, the heavily rebuilt HD Spikers are now staring at a finals spot in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference.
The HD Spikers fashioned out a 25-21, 25-23, 25-23 triumph over Petro Gazz on Friday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three semifinals at Filoil Flying V Arena.
Despite the three-set win, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for Cignal, which had to go through tense moments of electrifying back-and-forths with Petro Gazz before standing at the doorstep of a championship appearance that even the staunchest experts did not see coming.
“I just found myself standing there and getting excited at how both teams played; nobody wanted to lose,” said Cignal coach Shaq delos Santos in Filipino. “But I’m very proud of how my players played today, all the game plans were followed. They went all out today.”
The HD Spikers can formally claim the championship spot with a victory in Game 2 on Sunday.
“We prepared very hard for this. We know Petro Gazz is a champion team, they won’t give this up easily,” said Ces Molina, who powered Cignal with 10 points.
It was Gel Cayuna, however, who kept the HD Spikers’ offense humming, feeding 33 excellent sets to her teammates including Molina, Riri Meneses, Rachel Anne Daquis and Roselyn Doria. Cignal won its fifth straight game in the tournament.
Meneses topscored with 14 points aside from tyrannizing Petro Gazz with her strong presence in front of the net. The veteran Daquis finished with 11 points.
Meanwhile, in a response to a demand for more seats in the stands, the PVL will bring Game 2 of the semifinals to a bigger venue, Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena, on Sunday. The league will also play the first match of the race-to-two championship series at MOA.
PVL president Ricky Palou said the decision came after fans failed to watch the games at Filoil because no more seats could be sold.
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