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HD Spikers suffer import setbacks

Bea Micaller

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Cignal may be forced to play without an import when the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix fires off this Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Head coach Edgar Barroga said conflicts with their reinforcement cropped up with barely few weeks left before the season-opening conference.

Initially, the HD Spikers listed Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani as reinforcement. The choice seemed logical since Bedart-Ghani played with star setter Alohi Robins-Hardy in Hawaii before serving as reinforcement for Cocolife in the previous edition of the Grand Prix.

But Bedart-Ghani declined to step into the plane headed for Manila following the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

With that, the HD Spikers tapped Jennifer Yanet Alvarez of Cuba as her replacement.

Again, the recruitment fizzled out after it was found out that Alvarez has issues with her passport that would bar her from traveling to another country.

Barroga said they have no choice but to hire another import with less than a week left before the opening of the brand-new season.

“We are left with no choice but to settle for players we have in the lineup because of some circumstances that we can’t avoid,” Barroga said, adding that he will bank on the seasoned crew of Rachel Anne Daquis, Fiola Ceballos, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Jheck Dionela.

“It’s a matter of adjustment for the local players. They need to step up and rise to the occasion should we fail to find an import.”

Right now, the HD Spikers are negotiating with another Cuban spiker in Liannes Simon.

The 34-year-old Simon is a natural opposite, but she would be converted to the open spiker position to make room for Gonzaga.

She is set to arrive either on 28 or 29 February.

“We are bracing for the worse, but I know that my local players are ready to fill in the position of the import,” Barroga said.

“We will still find a replacement for Liannes should she opted not to sign a contract with the team.”

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