A loaded Cignal squad will show up when the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference fires off on Oct. 30 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Head coach Edgar Barroga confirmed that they already secured the services of Royse Tubino, Lutgarda Malaluan and Roselyn Doria for the prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Isuzu, Sogo, Senoh, Asics, Mikasa, Mueller, UCPB Gen, Bizooku and Genius Sports.
Tubino, who was part of the Cignal squad that clinched the Invitational Conference title last year, will make her return to spark the offense while Malaluan and Doria are tipped to provide the defensive muscle for the HD Spikers.
Aside from them, skipper Rachel Anne Daquis will also return as well as mainstays Janine Navarro, Rialen Sante, Jheck Dionela, Acy Masangkay, Cherry Vivas, Cindy Amutan, May Macatuno, Rap Aguilar and Shirley Salamagos.
Rising star Mylene Paat will also be back, bringing with her tons of experience after a successful stint with the Philippine national team in the 18th Asian Games and AVC Asian Women’s Cup the past couple of months.
“We like our chances this conference. All our needs were addressed both on offense and defense,” said Barroga, adding that their new recruits are still in the process of brushing up with their system.
“Right now, we’re working on our chemistry inside and outside the court. As much as possible, we need a little more practice time with them so they can study our system and get into the flow of the team.”
Last year, the HD Spikers pulled off a stunner when they paraded a solid roster built around veterans Gonzaga, Daquis and Tubino, three players who were largely credited to the success of the Philippine Army.
Cignal, which was still under George Pascua, emerged with a bronze medal finish behind Petron and F2 Logistics, who figured in a dramatic finals showdown.
Barroga said they want to either match or surpass their performance in 2017.
“We’re slowly completing the pieces. It’s now a matter of making them work together,” he said, bracing for a tough battle in this tourney that also has ESPN5, Hyper HD and AksyonTV as broadcast partners.
“Our goal this year is to match or surpass what we’ve accomplished last year. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I’m confident that the girls will all work hard to get it.”