BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos admitted that the HD Spikers are still trying to find its identity following its debut loss against imposing Chery Tiggo at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center here, Monday.
The former Philippine women’s national team head coach, who served as the lead assistant to former Cignal coach Edgar Barroga, inherited the coaching gig last March after the ball club decided not to renew Barroga’s contract.
According to Delos Santos, the team only had one full month of training before the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference raised its curtains, holding a bubble in Splendido Resort in Tagaytay.
“Medyo yung transition rin kasi and then siyempre first time ko rin sa team and then yung ibang players din namin na bago. To be honest, marami pa kaming puwedeng trabahuhin talaga para sa team namin,” said Delos Santos after receiving a 3-0 loss to Chery Tiggo.
“Actually, one month lang kami na nag full training and then sa schedule pa talagang marami kaming challenges. But of course, ganun talaga. Hindi naman kami nandito para mag dahilan lang sa mga bagay na yun at talagang kailangan naming harapin or iaccept talaga yung mga ganiyang bagay.”
Cignal looked like a shell of its old self in its debut after dropping three lopsided sets, 16-25, 13-25, 19-25, from the Jaja Santiago-led Chery Tiggo squad.
But it was quite understandable since the squad – who finished second in the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Cup – is missing two vital cogs during its Cinderella run in the former of Alohi Robins-Hardy and Jovelyn Gonzaga.
Robins-Hardy could not make it in time due to passport issues while Gonzaga had to return to her mother team Black Mamba-Army.
“Siyempre kami. to be honest, hindi yun yung talagang laro ng team na pinaghandaan namin.
“But of course, yun nga first time din nag laro almost two years and knowing din our opponents sobrang ire-respect mo talaga sila. Kung ‘di ka maglalaro nang maayos, siyempre alam mo yung puwedeng mangyari sa inyo,” said Delos Santos.
Still, Delos Santos was very proud of his team for putting up a fight despite the challenges that they’ve been through. After all, in a short tournament like this, it’s better to accept and move forward than to dwell and lose sight of what’s about to come next.
“The way naman na naglalaro sila habang tumatagal yung set, nakikita namin yung galaw na pinaghandaan namin pero yung preparation namin medyo hindi siya naging madali para sa lahat,” said Delos Santos.
“Actually, hindi lang sa amin, para sa lahat ng teams ‘yan. Siguro kailangan naming ma-accept and i-push rin yung sarili namin na ito nag start na rin talaga yung volleyball kasi ang hirap e, hindi mo alam ulit kung ano yung pakiramdam,” he continued.
“Kahit sabihin mong ito yung sport mo pero ‘pag talagang napatigil ka talaga magba-back-to-zero ka. So, ako sobrang proud pa rin ako sa team kasi talagang pinu-push nila yung sarili nila and siguro marami pa kaming puwedeng gawin.”