PH volleyball: Like planting seeds again | Inquirer Sports
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PH volleyball: Like planting seeds again

In spite of the problems facing Philippine volleyball, Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas managed to host the Asian Women’s Under-23 tournament at Philsports Arena.

And for national head coach Roger Gorayeb, it’s like starting all over again for the sport in the country.

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Taking a moment to talk at the Crowne Plaza Hotel before the fellowship night for the teams last Wednesday, Gorayeb was generally pleased with the home team’s performance. “I can’t ask for anything more,” said Gorayeb.

There wasn’t really much time to form and prepare the team, given everything that was happening on the volleyball political front. The team has given a good account of itself and has not been bulldozed by opponents.

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To date, the Philippines has won against Kazakhstan and lost against Iran, Japan and Chinese Taipei. The Filipinos were playing the tall and talented China.

Gorayeb intimated, though, that being young players, the women were “excited makalaro yung mga hinahangan nilang teams (they were excited to play teams they admired).” This led to some jitters and errors that proved costly in games where the team had opportunities to score more wins.

Gorayeb believes that if the present team or its core can be maintained, international exposure will be important for future campaigns so that the women get used to playing taller and tougher teams.

Team captain Alyssa Valdez, who has made waves in the games with her usual scoring of close to 20 points per match, is no neophyte in international play but found the tournament extremely “competitive.” She was in awe of Japan’s controlled aggressiveness where intensity was there but not obvious to mess up volleyball skills.

“The maturity of other teams like Japan was impressive,” Valdez admitted. Their game was simple but coordinated.”

She was also clearly disappointed that they could not sustain their game against Chinese Taipei after taking the first set. “We just ran out of gas, sir,” she rued but still with that enigmatic smile that has charmed fans everywhere.

Valdez is elated that despite their diverse backgrounds, the team had “good teamwork” and was committed to the cause.

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Gorayeb is set to shape the core of the team for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games and honestly sees a podium finish for the Philippines. “Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam are of course strong,” explained Gorayeb.

But regardless of how the Philippines finally finishes in the Under-23 tournament and the SEA Games in Singapore, it’s clear that the country is back mixing it up with Asia’s best. There’s a long way to go before we can finally battle for gold medals again, but the comeback is definitely on.

“We’re planting the seeds again,” Gorayeb added. There’s optimism that with proper nurturing there will be fruits to harvest in the future.

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TAGS: Japan, PH, Philippines, Roger Gorayeb, seeds, Sports, tournament, Volleyball
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