MANILA, Philippines – The Cignal HD Spikers won the bronze medal in the 2023 Premiere Volleyball League Invitational Conference in an exciting match at the Philsports Arena. The third-place finish, however, was a stepping stone to even greater success in the forthcoming conferences for these determined athletes.
Sunday’s encounter between the HD Spikers and F2 Logistics was nothing short of exciting, with the HD Spikers emerging victorious after four hard sets with scores of 25 to 22, 23 to 25, 25 to 20, and 25 to 18. The raucous applause from the crowded arena only strengthened their drive to win.
Rewind to the 2022 season, when Cignal demonstrated incredible consistency by winning a silver and two bronze medals in all three conferences. Their spirits were dimmed, however, during the All-Filipino campaign earlier this year, when they placed sixth out of nine teams with a 3 to 6 win-loss record. It was a difficult pill to swallow for head coach Shaq Delos Santos and his team.
However, the problems they faced this season were unlike any they had previously faced. The competition was fiercer than ever, with a record 13 teams, including two foreign guest teams and three new local squads. To add to the tension, the Philippine Army chose to take a leave of absence. The tournament used a compact format, splitting the 11 local teams into two groups for the preliminary round, with the top two from each group progressing to the semifinals to face the international teams, Kurashiki of Japan and Kinh Bac of Vietnam.
The HD Spikers shown their determination and strength in Group B, finishing first with a 4 to 1 record.
In addition to being a victory, Cignal’s recent success signaled the beginning of an intriguing adventure. Their return to the Top 3 was genuinely satisfying, but they remain unyieldingly ambitious since they are aware of the vast landscape that lies ahead and invites growth and development.
Unquestionably, important augmentations contributed to the team’s revival. The return of the energetic opposite spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga, who gave the team new life and essential leadership, was the catalyst for the comeback. Alongside her, a budding star, rookie Vanie Gandler, appeared. Her burgeoning brilliance lighted the court and revealed a wealth of untapped potential and a glimmering promise for the future.
Furthermore, libero Gelai Nunag’s unwavering tenacity served as an impenetrable shield for the team’s defense, her extraordinary skill enhancing the performance of the entire backline and adding a layer of resiliency that proved crucial.
The HD Spikers are relishing their well-earned bronze medal, but they aren’t taking their eyes off the bigger prize: the championship trophy. Their joy is just momentary, quickly replaced by the persistent drive that keeps them moving. The bronze is but one chapter in their epic journey to greatness; it is not its conclusion. They are bonded by a tireless desire of victory, and with each match and practice, they get one step closer to carving their names into the annals of history.