Coach wants more from near-perfect Cignal | Inquirer Sports
PVL INVITATIONALS

Coach wants more from near-perfect Cignal

/ 05:10 AM July 21, 2023

Ces Molina Cignal HD Spikers PVL

Ces Molina leads Cignal to a semifinals victory in the PVL Invitational Conference. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Cignal has been near-perfect in its last four games—winning them all in straight sets—but coach Shaq delos Santos wants more from his HD Spikers.

And with good reason.

“We cannot be contented, we need to raise the level of our game, especially against Creamline,” Delos Santos told reporters in Filipino, minutes after a methodical 25-22, 25-15, 25-21 dismantling of PLDT Thursday at the start of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference semifinals at PhilSports Arena in Pasig. “That team is awesome.”

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The HD Spikers are one of the hottest teams in the tournament, notching their fourth straight win that gave them a 1-1 record in these playoffs. But Delos Santos does not have any disillusions that the road to the finals will be a rosy one for his charges.

“This is a good sign for us,” Delos Santos said of the winning streak as Cignal rose to 1-1 in the round because of the carry-over loss from the eliminations. “But that doesn’t mean that things will be OK the rest of the way.

“We still need to do all the hard work, because for sure, our next games will be more difficult.”

Most difficult should have been the more appropriate word as the HD Spikers battle the defending champion Cool Smashers on Saturday. At presstime, Creamline was playing F2 Logistics—a fellow powerhouse.

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The Cool Smashers came into that match with a sweep of Pool A and dropped just one set in four games.

“We need to rest and recover and review (the game tapes),” Delos Santos answered when asked how he will prepare his HD Spikers. “Of course, we need to be able to enjoy playing them, because they are the defending champions.

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“We need to go all-out, that’s for sure,” he went on. “We’ll know [by game time]what we need to do.”

Third weapon

Ces Molina, as if saying that there’s a third weapon in the Cignal roster after the Jovelyn Gonzaga-Rachel Anne Daquis pair, exploded for 17 points to lead the HD Spikers, who pushed the High Speed Hitters to a 0-2 record in just an hour and 34 minutes.

“This is a good opportunity for us because our wins continue to boost our confidence,” Molina said in Filipino. “We showed great team effort and didn’t let each other down. We will continue to work because we still have a lot of lapses as coach said. We need to polish them and double our efforts in practice for our next games.”

Gonzaga, who keyed a masterful conquest of Choco Mucho on Tuesday, finished with 12 points, with Rose Doria accounting for 10 that included three blocks. Setter Gel Cayuna provided 15 excellent sets and scored four points off three aces.

No one from the High Speed Hitters scored in double figures, with Fiola Ceballos leading the way with eight points. Royse Tubino, Mean Mendrez and Mich Morente had seven points each.

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PLDT seeks to bounce back against F2 Logistics also on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

TAGS: Cignal, Creamline, PVL

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