PVL: Cignal coach believes ‘good ending’ still possible despite Game 1 loss
MANILA, Philippines — Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos is sticking to the positives despite losing to defending Petro Gazz in a tight three-set duel in Game 1 of the best-of-three Finals of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
American spiker Tai Bierria teamed up with Ces Molina and substitute Chai Troncoso in trying to extend the third set, which reached above 30 points, only for the HD Spikers to succumb to the hands of the Lindsey Vander Weide-led Angels, 25-21, 27-25, 37-35, and fall to the brink of a runner-up finish.
Delos Santos remained proud of his wards despite failing to stop Vander Weide’s career night of 34 points in just three sets and with Myla Pablo and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas leading the Angels’q locals.
“I’m always proud of my team. They really fought until the end. We still lack some things and we still have a lot to prove especially in this kind of situation,” said Delos Santos in Filipino.
“But we’re still thankful to be part of this finals coming off back-to-back bronze finishes in the past two conferences. I told them that we couldn’t be down, we should be happy to be here in the finals and appreciate the blessings that we got after going through. I’m so proud of them and that will never change.”
“Their import and seniors delivered. To be honest, their import was hard to stop the whole game. She is the key player. I have high respect for their team and their import. She really wants to win and she gave her 100 percent,” he said. “But we won’t stop until we get the win. That’s our goal.”
The HD Spikers, led by Bierria, seek to force a decider and stop the defending champions from claiming their second straight Reinforced Conference crown in Game 2 on Tuesday at Philsports Arena.
Delos Santos said his team will take a day off on Friday before they start preparing to fight for their championship goal with their backs against the wall.
“We have to give our 110 percent in our remaining chance. I believe in my team that we can still make a good ending for us,” he said.
But regardless of the result, the Cignal coach believes their first Finals experience will help the team get better for future seasons.
“For sure, this is a good experience that we can bring in 2023. At least, we already built a good foundation. My team is not yet mature enough yet in these kinds of situations. But they showed a lot of improvements during our experience this conference,” Delos Santos said.
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