CES Molina put up a show in front of a huge crowd at the PVL’s old stomping grounds as Cignal HD made quick work of BaliPure, 25-14, 25-9, 25-14, to enter the Open Conference semifinals yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
As the league finally opened its doors to the fans for the first time since November 2019, Molina gave back to the crowd that sorely missed live action by producing 12 points and five receptions as the twice-to-beat HD Spikers needed only 75 minutes to boot out the Water Defenders in the quarterfinals.
“Sobrang happy. Pagpasok pa lang namin dito sa San Juan (arena), actually nakakakilabot na ‘wow, ang sarap ng feeling’. And then ngayon naririnig na ulit namin ang sigawan, which is malaking factor for us kasi alam naman natin kung gaano nila kamahal ang volleyball, di ba? Parang kung gaano ding kamahal ang sports natin, ganoo ding kamahal iyon,” said Delos Santos.
“Kumbaga sobrang nakakatuwa kasi parang heto na, napi-feel natin na bumabalik na kahit paano. So I guess, good start ulit and hopefully talaga, magtuloy-tuloy na,” he added.
Molina was determined not only to give her best to carry Cignal HD to the Final Four, but also to the fans who patiently waited to witness volleyball action live at the venue after 28 months.
When setter Gel Cayuna opened the match with the service ace, the HD Spikers relished the feeling having the audience cheer at them.
“On the player’s side, it’s good to be back na may audience talaga dahil sabi ni coach, nakaka-boost talaga ng morale na may sumisigaw para sa team mo,” said Molina.
“Very excited na pumunta kami dito and alam namin na very prepared kami para magpakita sa audience for the first time again,” the former San Beda star added.
Roselyn Doria added 11 points, including two service aces, while Ria Meneses scored four of her nine points for Cignal HD.
Cayuna sustained her solid playmaking by churning out 26 excellent sets and fired two service aces while HD Spikers libero Jheck Dionela collected 12 digs.
Cignal HD, which has won five straight including 4-0 in pool play, will face either PetroGazz and F2 Logistics in the best-of-three semis.
Holding twice-to-beat bonus for finishing second in Pool B, the Angels need only to beat the Cargo Movers in the 6 p.m. match today to advance to the Final Four.
“Kung sino man ang makakaharap namin, I guess, magpre-prepare kami. Kasi iyon ang mindset namin. Kahit sino, mas ready yung team namin,” said Delos Santos, who turned Cignal HD around from its disappointing one-win campaign last year.
Janine Marciano had five points before being sat out in the third set for BaliPure, which was relegated to the classification round.
The Water Defenders remained winless in four matches this conference.
(Filoil Flying V Centre)
3 p.m. – Choco Mucho vs PLDT
6 p.m. – Petro Gazz vs F2 Logistics