Cignal signs Venezuelan winger MJ Perez for PVL Reinforced Conference

Cignal made a recruitment coup after signing veteran Venezuelan winger MJ Perez in its quest for glory in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference that kicks off next month.

The powerful Perez returns to the local scene five years after her last appearance to help the HD Spikers wrap up some unfinished business in the import-flavored tournament opener on July 16.

Cignal formally unveiled its reinforcement on Wednesday.

Perez brings a lot of experience and familiarity with the Philippine playing style, which could be a big advantage over foreign guest players playing for other clubs for the first time.

A prolific goalscorer and reliable in defence, Perez last saw action for F2 Logistics in the defunct Philippine Superliga Grand Prix in 2019.

Perez, alongside American Kennedy Bryan, carried the Cargo Movers to the 2017 PSL Grand Prix throne, at the expense of big favorite Petron Blaze. The 36-year-old batsman was named Most Valuable Player in the said title.

Before signing with the HD Spikers, Perez suited up for the Alexandria Sporting Club in Egypt.

Perez will reunite with former F2 Logistics teammate libero Dawn Macandili, who moved to Cignal last year after the Cargo Movers disbanded.

The HD Spikers hope Perez’s championship history will take the Shaq delos Santos-coached side to the Promised Land after falling short in the 2022 Reinforced Conference final against Petro Gazz with American Tai Bierria as import.

Meanwhile, Choco Mucho also introduced the Greek outsider Zoi Faki as a foreign guest player on Wednesday.

After landing veteran opposite-hitter and middle blocker Dindin Santiago-Manabat, the Flying Titans recruited the 25-year-old former NCAA All-American player for an additional weapon at the wing spot.

The 6-foot-1 University of Pittsburgh and University of San Diego alumnus will bolster both Choco Mucho’s offense and net defense, with 2023 All-Filipino Conference MVP Sisi Rondina and center Cherry Nunag still questionable to participate in the mid-season tournament due to their commitments with Alas Pilipinas.

Unfortunately, Pilipinas will participate in the FIVB Challenger Cup next week and the Southeast Asian V-League in August.

The Flying Titans, who sit in a row as runners-up in the AFC, are seeking redemption after a disappointing campaign in the tournament two years ago.

Choco Mucho, backed by Uzbek import Odina Aliyeva, finished seventh with a 3-5 win-loss record in the final Reinforced Conference, where former mentor Oliver Almadro stepped down mid-tournament.

Perez and Faki are the latest importers named in the field of twelve clubs, after American Erica Staunton of Creamline, American Khat Bell of Cherry Tiggo, Russian balik importer Elena Samoilenko of PLDT and Russian debutant Marina Tushova of Capital1 .