Blessing in disguise for Cignal

Lynda Morales crashed out with a left ankle sprain when Cignal posted a 22-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 15-4 victory over Generika in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Tuesday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.

Morales, the team captain of Puerto Rican national team in the Rio Olympics, had an awkward landing as she was trying to stop the attack of Darlene Ramdin in the first set of their furious encounter.

Although she walked on her own power and received immediate medical attention, still, she is expected to miss their crucial match against reigning champion Foton, a game that would the HD Spikers a chance to seize up their level of competitiveness and determine the loopholes in their championship bid.

But for Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar, Morales’ absence could be a blessing in disguise.

A seasoned drillmaster who emerged with a lot of memorable finishes in collegiate ranks, Acaylar said this could be the biggest break his locals are waiting for as they could play without banking on their import.

[quote]I told them to forget about Lynda. We have nobody to bank on, but ourselves.[/quote]

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Local Spikers step up

True enough, with Morales hitting the shower early, the local crew of the HD Spikers stepped up. Middle blockers Mylene Paat and Michelle Laborte imposed their will on defense while Janine Marciano spewed fire on the offensive end.

Marciano finished with 14 kills and three aces for a game-high 17 points while Paat and Laborte nailed nine points apiece for Cignal, which is slowly gaining the confidence to match up against the giants of the league.

[quote]The locals are very good in practice. But practice is different from actual games. And now that Lynda is out for a game, I told them to use it as an opportunity to display their worth and their ability to stand up without relying on the imports.[/quote]

Aside from Marciano, Paat and Laborte, Acaylar said he also expects setter Shawna-Lei Santos, Stephanie Mercado, Cherry Vivas and the returning Venus Bernal to step up.

[quote]I want to use and maximize all my local players in our next game. I want them to gain the confidence they need. And with Lynda’s absence, I think that would be possible.[/quote]

Yes, and that confidence from the locals is all Cignal needs to get back into its once lofty position.