CIGNAL tries to check its skid when it battles Sta. Lucia Realty today in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Action erupts at 7 p.m. following the battle between struggling Iriga City and Victoria Sports-UST in the 4:15 p.m. first match of this prestigious club tourney sponsored by Mikasa, Grand Sport, Senoh, Mueller, Island Rose, Cloudfone and UCPB Gen.
Although armed with a loaded roster, things are looking gloomy for the HD Spikers in this league that also has Gold’s Gym and Gerflor as technical sponsors and ESPN5 as broadcast partner.
They have lost three of their past four games, with the previous setback coming from F2 Logistics, 22-25, 13-25, 12-25, late Tuesday.
In that match, the HD Spikers came out firing in the first set, before wilting under the hot defense of the Cargo Movers in the second and third sets en route to another painful setback.
F2 Logistics was so dominant defensively that nobody from Cignal emerged with double-digit scoring. The Cargo Movers were more superior at the attack zone, 38-27, as well as in the blocking (12-5) and service (6-3) departments.
Even worse, seasoned spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga crashed with a knee injury in the crucial stretch of the second set, prompting league officials and medical staff to rush her to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment.
Although doctors ruled out any fracture on her right knee, her health going into the match against the Lady Realtors remains doubtful.
“This is major challenge for us,” said Pascua, who is tipped to deploy Mylene Paat to fill the void created by Gonzaga’s injury. “This is the perfect time for us to step together and play as a team. We know Jovelyn really wants to win. She’s a fighter. We have to help her emotionally by winning this match for her.”
On the same note, the Lady Realtors will also be walking wounded.
Canadian import Marisa Field also suffered a knee injury in the third set of their match against Victoria Sports-UST.
Field’s injury, however, is not serious as she just needs to rest for only two weeks, including in their match against Foton over the weekend and against Cignal.
Sta. Lucia head coach Jerry Yee said Field’s absence is a major blow to the team, especially now that they are trying to come up with a strong finish in the elimination round to avoid heavyweights Petron, F2 Logistics and Foton in the sudden-death quarterfinals.
“We will definitely miss Marisa’s presence,” said Yee, who is tipped to assign either Shirley Salamagos or Janine Navarro at the middle blocker spot, together with Filipino-American MJ Philips.
“But we have to move on and focus on our match against Cignal. Our locals have to step up if we want to get this victory.”