DESPITE his team leading the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference with a spotless record so far, Cignal head coach Shaq Delos Santos believes the HD Spikers are the challengers heading into the Thursday clash with reigning champion and fellow unbeaten squad Creamline.
Cignal vs Creamline preview
"Lagi naman kaming underdog, yung team namin," said head coach Shaq delos Santos after a sweep of winless Chery Tiggo, Saturday.
Riding a three-game winning streak, Cignal has shown it can be a title contender following a mastery over Army-Black Mamba, a come-from-behind win over Choco Mucho and a quick three-set blitz against Chery Tiggo.
A win in the 5:30 p.m. matchup against the 2022 PVL Open Conference Champions could secure Cignal a semifinals berth, ensuring their spot in the next round where guest teams from Japan and Taiwan await.
But a perfect record, according to Delos Santos, is not a measure of a team's power.
"Hindi namin kailangan sabihin na malakas kami kasi 3-0, hindi siya reason para sabihing malakas ka. Yun lang yung nagiging result ng mga ginagawa namin," he said.
Although he admitted the blockbuster clash in Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna will be exciting, he remained grounded as they face a star-studded Cool Smashers with four MVPs in its arsenal - namely Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, Tots Carlos and Jia Morado.
"Knowing them naman, sila talaga naka-establish yung team nila and powerhouse talaga yung team nila," he said.
Instead, Cignal would rely on its strength, said Delos Santos. After all, the team copped four of the seven individual awards in the Open Conference earlier this year, led by best middle blockers Roselyn Doria and Ria Meneses, best outside spiker Ces Molina and best setter Gel Cayuna.
"Kami naman, stay humble, stay simple and magpeprepare. Best effort na magagawa namin and hindi kami mag-eexpect ng kahit anong goal. Ang gusto lang namin is yung process, dun kami nakafocus lang," he said.
Only one team will emerge undefeated at Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.
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