Previous national team experience buoys Jema Galanza in AVC stint
MANILA, Philippines — Jema Galanza used her past Philippine women’s volleyball team experiences and Creamline’s familiarity to lead their gallant stand against Vietnam in the AVC Cup opener on Sunday at PhilSports Arena.
Missing stars Alyssa Valdez, Jia De Guzman, and Risa Sato as well as head coach Sherwin Meneses, the former Premier Volleyball League MVP stepped up and scored a team-high 13 points as Creamline-Philippines’ valiant effort got denied by Vietnam, 19-25, 17-25, 29-31, in their first Pool A game.
Galanza, who played in the national team’s previous ninth place finish in the AVC Cup 2018 and in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam last May, displayed the things she learned from the past international tournaments to help her undermanned team, which still displayed impressive chemistry.
“I showed what I learned from my past experiences in the (2018) AVC Cup and other international events,” said Galanza in Filipino after dropping 11 attacks and two service aces.
“Gamay na rin namin yung isa’t isa kaya medyo magaan din sa loob (ng court),” she added.
The 25-year-old spiker had her moments with Michele Gumabao to give the Philippines an impressive start in the first two sets. Tots Carlos kept the team afloat in the third set, pushing the team to the verge of winning a set twice but the Vietnamese displayed grace under pressure to close out the game.
Despite falling short, Galanza remained proud of the Cool Smashers, who also drew solid floor defense from libero Kyla Atienza.
“I’m so proud and happy for my team because even we missed our key players we still put up a good fight. We fell short but we learned a lot from this game,” she said.
Galanza vows to play better as the Philippines will face a bigger challenge on Tuesday against five-time defending champion China at 7 p.m.
“We have to train and prepare well for China’s game. We will play happy and stick to the system and the things that we always do inside the court,” she said.