Cignal shut down its campaign on a sizzling note as it dominated Smart-Army, 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, in the classification match of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
With Rachel Daquis at the firing end, the HD Spikers had a strong start and even a stronger finish to run away with the bronze medal in this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Isuzu, UCPB Gen and SOGO Hotel with ESPN5, Hyper HD and Aksyon TV as broadcast partners.
Daquis fired 14 kills, two aces, and two blocks to finish with 18 points for the HD Spikers, who went undefeated in the preliminaries before suffering a sorry straight-set loss to F2 Logistics in the semifinals.
The Cargo Movers are still clashing with bitter rival Petron in Game 1 of their best-of-three finals series at press time.
“No, our morale didn’t go down after that loss,” said Cignal head coach Edgar Barroga, whose wards made quite an achievement despite marching with a depleted roster. “This bronze medal is just a bonus since this is our target for this conference. That loss made us more eager and to win and deliver.”
Barroga said despite the loss of stars Jovelyn Gonzaga, Honey Royse Tubino, Paneng Mercado, Chie Saet and Maica Morada, Daquis still refused to give up as she took the cudgels to make sure that the HD Spikers will remain competitive.
“Rachel responded to my challenges this conference,” said Barroga, who was the team manager when George Pascua steered the HD Spikers to the finals last year. “I am very satisfied with her performance, especially in this last game.”
National team member Mylene Paat delivered 15 points off 13 attacks and a pair of blocks while Mumay Vivas added 13 hits for Cignal, which is expected to storm back when the league opens its season-ending All-Filipino Conference in September.
Joanne Bunag was the lone bright spot as she finished with 10 points for Smart-Army, which also made drastic improvement after going winless in its debut in the previous Grand Prix.