Coach Sammy Acaylar says Cignal still a work in progress, downplays tag as PSL title favorite
Although building chemistry shouldn't take long for Cignal, coach Sammy Acaylar doesn't want to be tagged as pre-tournament favorite. Dante Peralta 

CIGNAL head coach Sammy Acaylar says his team is still a work in progress even as rivals have tagged the HD Spikers as favorites in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix starting on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.

With imports Olympian Lynda Morales of Puerto Rico and Laura Schaudt of the United States, the HD Spikers look to be among the strongest.

But Acaylar stressed new recruits are still adjusting to their roles.

Former Most Valuable Player Venus Bernal will be making a return after a long layoff, while Paneng Mercado joined the HD Spikers after playing for F2 Logistics.

Also in the lineup are Adamson stars Lourdes Patilano and Mylene Paat, former San Beda spiker Janine Marciano, former Perpetual Help blocker Sandra Delos Santos and Shawna-Lei Santos from St. John’s University in the NCAA Division I.

Veterans Michelle Laborte, Cherry Vivas, Len Cortel and Jheck Dionela are also returning.

“They are saying that we’re the favorites because of our lineup,” said Acaylar.

“But if you look closely, almost all of our players are new. We are still adjusting on the court and developing chemistry on the court. We’re still a work in progress. It’s still a long way to go.”

Acaylar, however, pointed out that developing into a cohesive unit wouldn’t take long as they have a lot of leaders in the team.

“We have a lot of leaders ranging from Lynda, Jheck, Venus, Paneng and our team captain, Micmic (Laborte). All of them are very matured and disciplined both inside and outside the court. We expect them to lead us to the title.”

“I really like the composition of the team. At least now, I have a players who can make my job a lot easier.”

The HD Spikers open their Grand Prix campaign against reigning champion Foton on Oct. 11.

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