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Veteran players credit Cignal’s composure in facing early deficit in PVL semis Game 1

MANILA, Philippines — When the Cignal HD Spikers dropped the first two sets in Game 1 of 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) second All-Filipino Conference semifinals, veteran players Jovelyn Gonzaga and Ces Molina never stopped believing they could pull off a comeback.

The HD Spikers remained patient and willed their way back from two sets down to steal the series opener with a come-from-behind 18-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-10 victory and end the Choco Mucho Flying Titans’ 10-game winning streak, inching a win closer to the Finals on Thursday evening at Philsports Arena.

“Personally, I didn’t feel that we were about to lose. We’re two sets down okay but there’s another set and we can still win three. I also saw the eagerness of my teammates to win this game,” said Gonzaga in Filipino.

Ria Meneses comes through in clutch for Cignal HD Spikers in the PVL All-Filipino Conference semifinals. –MARLO CUETO/

Gonzaga, who powered Cignal with 16 points and 22 digs, said they got their act together in the third and worked as one to pull off the impressive comeback win.

“We’re like a one cohesive unit. We fought hard in the third and the second set and it all boiled down to the no-mercy training of coach Shaq. It was worth it because we really earned this result,” said the veteran opposite spiker. “We always remind each other that it will be easier for us to win if we will help each other. The coaches also remained patient, reminding us and giving us instructions. It was a total team effort.”

Molina, who scored 23 points, lauded the whole team for displaying grace under pressure despite failing to execute their game plan in the first two sets.

“We weren’t able to do our game plan in the first two sets. We bounced back in the last three sets and delivered what we had to do,” said the Invitational Conference MVP in Filipino. “Our hardships throughout the conference were also our motivation so we pushed ourselves, which resulted in everybody contributing to the team.”

Cignal, which also drew impressive numbers from Vanie Gandler, Ria Meneses, and setter Gel Cayuna, seeks to make its first All-Filipino Finals and second appearance on the biggest stage after reaching the Reinforced Conference championship round last year.

The HD Spikers coach Shaq Delos Santos reminds his wards to check their emotions as they need to get the job done in Game 2 against a bounce-back-seeking Flying Titans.

“We can enjoy this win but we can’t be complacent,” Delos Santos said.