PH team ‘will go places’ just needs more time, chemistry says Dindin
MANILA, Philippines—Dindin Santiago-Manabat was once the upstart in the Philippine national volleyball team when she started in 2013 but now she’s one of the veterans tasked with leading the new generation of players.
The 6-foot-2 Santiago-Manabat was one of Team Rebisco’s veterans in the 2021 AVC Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship and it was her squad that had international rookies Mhicaela Belen, Imee Hernandez, Bernadette Pepito, Jen Niferva, Faith Nisperos, Kamille Cal, and Ivy Lacsina.
Despite her team finishing last in the seven-team field, Santiago-Manabat believes the new breed of Philippine internationals have what it takes to carry the flag in the future.
“These kids will put up a fight against other teams in the future, of course, they’ve gained so much experience here it’s just that they don’t have the right chemistry yet,” said Santiago-Manabat in Filipino. “They will just have to bond and spend time with each more. They will get to know each other better, I’m sure.”
Santiago-Manabat also felt that the pool the Philippines has now, including the veterans from Team Choco Mucho, is well on its way to improving as the national team will be given a long-term program instead of being a hodgepodge of players formed mere months before a tournament.
She likened the current national team pool to the previous reiterations of the Philippine squad that were formed somewhat hastily and the players were not given enough time to build the right chemistry.
“This program is a long-term one, we’re training with each other everyday,” said Santiago-Manabat of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation’s plans for the national team. “This is just the start. They will just have to give us a long enough time to be with each other and this team will go places.”
While she’s aware of her teammates’ youth, the four-time club champion said the youngsters already have the right attitude when it comes to playing for the Philippines.
“Yes they’re kids but you won’t have a tough time guiding them, they’re super competitive, and they already have advanced skills for their age,” said Santiago-Manabat, who started with the national team when she was 20 years old. “Of course you still have to be patient with them but I know they’ll improve.”
“Volleyball is a sport of repetition but these youngsters pick things up so quickly. If we’re given more time to train, I know these kids will go far in the international level.”
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