Akari-Cignal showdown spices up PVL Reinforced Conference opening

MANILA, Philippines – The clash between Jorge Souza de Brito and Shaq Delos Santos, the last two coaches of the Philippine women’s volleyball team, marks the opening day of the 2022 Premier League Volleyball League Consolidation Conference as Akari Akari debuted before Cignal on Saturday at the Santa Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.

Power Chargers, the newest professional volleyball club, plays against two-time bronze medalists, HD Spikers, at 5:30 p.m., after the first game between United Auctioneers-Army and PLDT at 2:30 afternoon, marking the entry- the taste of the tournament returned after three years.

Although they face a young and new team, the head coach of Cignal, Delos Santos predict a match start against the current national team coach, who is making his PVL debut and marching three times Prisilla Rivera of the Dominican Republic.

“For sure, it will be a good match. We have to prepare because even though they are a young team you cannot underestimate them. I am sure they will fight hard and give 100%,” Delos Santos said in Filipino.

“They import very well, who used to be Olympic athletes. We have to be ready and perform well.”

Akari's coach Jorge Souza de Brito.

Akari’s coach Jorge Souza de Brito. –PVL PHOTOS

Besides Akari’s seasoned imports, De Brito is recruiting former UAAP stars Michelle CobbTrisha Genesis, Lycha Ebon and Dani Ravena.

It will be a challenging first PVL game for Power Chargers with Cignal strengthening an already intact roster, directed by Ces Molina, Rachel Anne Daquis, Ria Meneses and Gel Cayuna, by adding more American hitman Tai Bierria

“Cignal is a very strong team. They came in third place (in several conferences). I guess it will be a difficult game for us because they have really good players,” said De Brito.

It will be an interesting matchup between the last two coaches of the national team. But the two remain focused on their respective goals this season, with De Brito looking to prove that their club belongs to PVL in their first season.

“We practiced for two months trying to build a team, a competitive team,” said the former Olympic gold medalist, who also shared that his team is improving day by day and loves to be part of the tournament.

“It is a challenge for us and for the players. We will do our best and try to make some surprises,” he added.

Shaq delos Santos Cignal HD Spikers PVL

CIgnal coach Shaq Delos Santos gathers his players during HD Spikers’ game against PLDT High Speed ​​Hitters during the 2022 PVL Invitational Conference in San Juan. PVL PHOTO

Delos Santos, who finished third in the first two games, hopes to finally overcome the trap at the end of the season.

“We have to work and push ourselves harder. We have to give our best, 101 percent because this is the last tournament for 2022. It would be better to end the year with a better result this time,” said the former Philippine women’s team coach.

“It’s good, our imports are slowly adapting to our system. We hope to have more time for her to improve her progress and talk to the locals. “

Meanwhile, the Army flaunts the Canadian import of Laura Condotta against the PLDT, which will be led by Russian Elena Savkina-Samoilenko.

Lady Troopers, banned by Jovelyn Gonzaga, and Power Hitters led by Mika Reyes are also trying to get a better finish on this conference after both teams failed the podium in the past two conferences.

Each match counts as only the top four teams of the knockout round will advance to the semi-finals, where another single round-robin match will determine the finalist.

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