Sammy quits – Cignal in limbo

Tuesday, 03 Jan 2017
Nads Ong - @nadineisreal

Seasoned mentor Sammy Acaylar formally stepped down following Cignal’s sorry performance in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix last year.

Acaylar said the HD Spikers opted to trek a different direction and their participation in the semi-professional league hangs in balance, prompting him and his coaching staff to call it quits.

Under Acaylar’s guidance, the HD Spikers advanced to the finals in the league’s maiden conference with Venus Bernal emerging as Most Valuable Player (MVP). Although they lost to a more fluid Army squad, the HD Spikers still had some flashes of brilliance, making them part of championship discussion.

But last year, Cignal was miserable.

In the All-Filipino Conference, the HD Spikers finished sixth before emerging dead last in the Grand Prix, no thanks to the knee injury suffered by Olympian Lynda Morales and the sour chemistry among key players like Michelle Laborte, Jheck Dionela and Cherry Vivas as well as new recruits Paneng Mercado, Janine Marciano, Mylene Paat and Shawna-Lei Santos.

That’s why the decision didn’t come as a shock to Acaylar.

Before the start of the Grand Prix, we were told that there would be some changes if the team would not boom. Unfortunately, it happened. But we accept it by heart. We decided to resign instead. So far, Cignal is still thinking about its future. Its chances of joining the PSL is still 50-50. A lot of changes will happen in the next few days.

New challenges

Acaylar said he’s open to new challenges.

League sources said a new team is eyeing him to call the shots with some of his former players reportedly expressing their intention to join him.

The new team, which sources refused to identify, is just one of the teams said to be making their PSL debut in the All-Filipino Conference.

Aside from that he was also appointed as Athletic Director of University of Perpetual Help, giving him additional workload aside from calling the shots for the school’s men’s and women’s volleyball teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Another possible landing spot for Acaylar is the National Team with no less than Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) acting president Peter Cayco revealing that he’s included in the short list of possible coaches.

Working with the Nationals is nothing new for Acaylar.

He was in the coaching staff of the fabled team that won the gold medal in the 1993 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore with Russian coach Stav Lugailo calling the shots and legends like Thelma Barina-Rojas, Leonora Escollante, Zenaida Chavez and Rosemarie Prochina as stalwarts.

But Acaylar said nothing is definite at the moment.

Now that I’m finally free, I’m welcoming invitation to coach other club teams. I still have a lot of options. Everything would be fine.

Surprisingly, there’s no trace of sadness in Acayar’s voice.

He believes that if God closes a door, He opens a window of golden opportunities.