By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Cignal HD Spikers showed that their major off-season acquisitions were worth it after outdueling the defending champion Cherry Tiggo squad, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 25-18, during the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) opening game day.
It was what head coach Shaq Delos Santos wanted, that his team would start strong and finish strong against the veteran-laced Cherry Tiggo team led by Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Mylene Paat.
From the get-go, Cignal’s dynamic duo in Rachel Anne Daquis and Ces Molina led the way offensively and were unstoppable throughout the game.
Daquis had 14 successful attacks recorded while Molina top-scored the whole team with 16 made markers. Meanwhile, newly-acquired national team member Ria Meneses also made her presence felt with 11 points and six blocks.
“I just reminded them how we prepared for this first game. I’m happy with this group because they knew when to adjust,” said coach Delos Santos.
Despite Cherry Tiggo quickly turning things around with the second-set equalizer, Cignal struck back with two consecutive set wins and gave no chance for the latter to recover.
Manabat top-scored and carried Cherry Tiggo offensively with 14 points while Paat only had 10 points and came off the bench.
Former PVL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Jaja Santiago is yet to arrive in the Philippines and reinforce Cherry Tiggo who is still playing in the Japan Volleyball League as an Asian import.
Cignal will resume action after two days and will prepare against the star-studded F2 Logistics Cargo Movers team on Sunday, 3:00 PM.