PVL: Cignal turns back Akari to open All-Filipino bid

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Cignal HD Spikers in the PVL All-Filipino Conference. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–Cignal clawed back from being a set down and survived Akari, 21-25, 25-18, 25-12, 25-18, to start its Premier Volleyball League campaign on a high note.

The HD Spikers’ opening game win also put a damper on the Chargers’ debut of Grethcel Soltone and the comebacking Ced Domingo, who is fresh from her championship with Thailand club Nakhon Ratchasima.

Cignal’s rising star Vanie Gandler continued her excellent play in her second conference with the HD Spikers, delivering a game-high 19 points including a block.

“Feels good [to win], of course, because our preparation time was very short but I’m happy that the team was able to come together,” Gandler said.

“After the first set, it’s normal first-game jitters but I could see how much we all want it and the fight,” she added.

Roselyn Doria and team captain Ces Molina also helped the HD Spikers in that two-hour long contest, finishing with 16 points each.

Eyes set on championship

Cignal HD Spikers' Dawn Macandili

Cignal HD Spikers’ Dawn Macandili. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

But one of the biggest differences for Cignal was its new acquisition in libero Dawn Macandili-Catindig, who guarded the floor with 22 excellent digs.

And coach Shaq delos Santos believes that Catindig will be vital in the HD Spikers’ ultimate goal.

“To be honest, we are targeting a championship,” Delos Santos said in Filipino. “Especially having Dawn and Jovelyn Fernandez, they have made such a huge impact as you can see from our performance today especially with our floor defense.”

“We are working so hard for this every day, but even though the performance is improving, it’ll be good to have it much better. That’s the target,” he added.

Gandler will also carry the opening game win moving forward as she aims to be even better as the competition gets tougher.

“Personally for me now that I’ve played two conferences, I know that the teams are going to really scout me more, so I really have to think outside the box and level up from here,” Gandler said.

Akari started strong behind Soltones and Dindin Santiago-Manabat, who had 14 and 12 points respectively, before Cignal got its composure back to take over in the remaining sets.

The Chargers unveiled Domingo, who planed in last Feb. 20 before joining Akari in practice on Friday, late in the third set but Cignal’s lead was big to come back from.

Domingo, who admits to still feeling out her new team’s system, failed to score in her first two attempts after immediately committing a net touch error and Cignal blocking her attack. She finished with two points.



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Cignal faces Galeries next on March 2 while Akari takes on defending champion Creamline on Thursday at PhilSports Arena.





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