Early exit in PVL All-Filipino ‘wake up call’ for Cignal, says coach Shaq

Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos in the PVL All-Filipino Conference. –PVL PHOTO

Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos in the PVL All-Filipino Conference. –PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — After their streak of three straight semifinal appearances was snapped in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference, Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos admitted that competition this season has reached another level.

Cignal ended a disappointing campaign on a high as the trio of Chai Troncoso, Ces Molina, and Rachel Anne Daquis finished strong to beat the winless Army-Black Mamba 29-27, 25-19, 25-16, on Thursday at Philsports Arena.

For Delos Santos, the first conference is a wake-up call for his team, which finished sixth with a 3-5 record, but he promises to help the HD Spikers catch up and rise again in the next conference.

“Volleyball is different now. The competition has leveled up. You have to be always ready and be on top condition,” the Cignal coach said in Filipino. “All the teams in the semis right now will surely play good series. It’s good for the PVL. Good luck to all of them.”

“We fell short. I admit that we have to bring back a lot of things [from last season] and improve. We learned a lot. I accept this challenge. This is a wake-up call and lesson for us,” he added.

The HD Spikers reached the podium thrice last year including a Reinforced Conference Finals stint, but Delos Santos admitted the team lacked drive in the All-Filipino conference.

“Our drive should always be at a high level. We lost the kind of drive [we had last season]. We have a game that we’re okay then suddenly we will be off. We need a strong foundation before the Invitational,” he said. “After Holy Week we will start preparing to build a strong foundation. We accept what we’ve been through to start 2023 and this will be our inspiration going to the Invitationals.”

Cignal let go of Angeli Araneta and five other players before the season and signed Chinchin Basas and Gyzelle Sy.

Delos Santos said they are open to signing additional players after the collegiate leagues or free agents, who can help their team bannered by Daquis, Molina, Ria Meneses, Rose Doria, and Gel Cayuna.

“We need someone who can help the team. If there is an opportunity, we will look for additional players,” he said.

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