Trailing by nine points in the second set against Petro Gazz, the HD Spikers lost leading scorer Ces Molina with an apparent right ankle injury. Her right foot landed on Aiza Maizo-Pontillas’ left foot following a block attempt.
Molina, who was in tears at the time, was taken to the dugout immediately. She finished with seven points in two sets played.
“Sa ngayon dadalhin muna siya sa ospital para ma-x ray muna. Wala pang final pero sprain talaga siya pero wala, wala tayong magagawa. Aksidente and we need to accept that,” said HD Spikers head coach Shaq delos Santos.
To add salt to the wound, Cignal — which took the opener through a dominant showing — eventually lost the match to the also-ran Angels in 4 sets, 19-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-14, which marked its first defeat in five games.
The HD Spikers were also without Rose Doria, Ayel Estranero, and Glaudine Troncoso.
Delos Santos said that Molina’s injury has affected the team mentally throughout the duration of the match. Still, the former FEU head coach offered no excuses and insisted that Petro Gazz was the better team tonight.
He also made sure to stick to the positives, saying that Molina’s absence opened up more opportunities for the team’s reserves such as Kla Abriam and Jacqueline Acuña.
“Mentally, yeah I think nakaapekto. Nakita ko rin sa nilaro ng mga players namin but ang good thing nabigyan din naman ng opportunity na makalaro yung ibang players namin,” said Delos Santos.
“Talagang grabe rin yung nilaro ng Petro Gazz, talagang gusto nila manalo. Nakita naman natin yung laro nila and ayun, we need to accept na talo talaga kami, ganun talaga e,” he added.
While it was indeed an unfortunate incident, Delos Santos believes that moments like these will only make the team stronger.
“Hindi naman laging magiging maganda yung flow,” said the decorated mentor.
“Sabi ko nga sa team, sa process kasama ‘to. Medyo stressful but kailangan maging strong kami para ma-accept namin yung mga bagay na ganito and mas maging matatag and mas maging solid ang team namin.”
Molina is currently the third-best scorer in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference — tied with Army-Black Mamba’s Jovelyn Gonzaga — with a total of 75 points.