MANILA, Philippines – TMS-Philippine Army’s veteran setter Tina Salak had heard all about it– that her team was too old to compete and that they didn’t have anything left in the tank to win the championship.
But on Sunday night, Salak and the Lady Troopers proved their critics wrong and had the final say after beating the Cignal HD Spikers to earn the inaugural Philippine Super Liga championship.
“Parang bata ulit kami dito sa ligang ito kasi na-prove namin na kahit sinasabi nila na oldest team kami, pinatunayan namin na kaya naming panindigan na kaya naming mag-champion (We were like kids in this league because even if we were the oldest team, we had to prove that we could win) ,” said the 36-year-old Salak.
Salak had six points and 22 excellent sets but more than her offensive production, her leadership also played a key role in Army’s title run.
During a huddle, Salak, the league’s Best Blocker, reminded her teammates to finish the job in the fourth set after an uninspired third set by the Lady Troopers.
“Learning experience kasi yung nangyari sa amin against Cagayan. Kung kaya naman naming manalo bakit pa namin pinahinirapan yung sarili naming (The game against Cagayan was a learning experience. We said we didn’t have to make it difficult for ourselves if we can win),” Salak added. “Kung kaya naman namin maglaro ng maayos. Kasi yung nangyari sa amin nung Friday hindi maganda, kasi nagwo-worry din kami na baka sa third and fourth set lang kami maglaro. Yung experience na yon ayaw na namin maulit, basta aral lang kami ng aral. Kung ano yung tama yun lang yung i-aadapt namin (We only needed to have a good game. What happened last Friday was not good on us because we worried that we would only play good in the third and fourth set. We don’t like a repeat of that experience. We just have to learn and adapt to what’s right).”
For Salak, age won’t stand in the way and if anything else, all those experiences shared by her and fellow veterans Mary Jean Balse and Joanne Bunag throughout the years of playing worked to their advantage in winning the title.