Creamline coach believes Kyle Negrito ready to step up sans Jia De Guzman
MANILA, Philippines — Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses wished his star setter Jia De Guzman all the best in her first Japan V.League stint.
Menses also expressed his confidence in Kyle Negrito, who will now take charge of the Cool Smashers’ offense in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference starting in October.
The Denso Airybees on Thursday welcomed De Guzman, the eight-time PVL best setter, as their team’s Asian import in the 2023-24 V.League season beginning October 28 against the NEC Red Rockets.
Although De Guzman’s absence will be a tough blow in their sudden title defense in the second All-Filipino Conference this year, Meneses is proud of his player, who was part of Creamline’s six titles in 10 finals appearances and won four Finals MVP trophies.
“Sobrang proud kami kay Jia. Bihira lang kasi ang ganyang opportunity. We support naman palagi sa player kung ano ang dream nila,” Meneses told Inquirer Sports.
(We’re very proud of Jia because that kind of opportunity doesn’t come often. We always support our players in pursuing whatever dreams are in their careers.)
“Siyempre naguusap naman kami palagi about sa paglalaro ni Jia sa Japan. She always supports us kahit malayo siya,” he added.
(Of course, we’ve talked to Jia about her playing in Japan and she will always support us even though she’s far away.)
Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez took to Instagram to express her support for De Guzman, who has been her teammate since college in Ateneo.
“I know you’ll make us all proud so just enjoy the journey and I hope you will love the sport even more,” said Valdez in a video hugging De Guzman.
Negrito, who played as De Guzman’s backup, has big shoes to fill but Meneses believes that she can still run the team’s winning system being with Creamline since 2019.
“Sobrang nagfofocus naman si Kyle. We have the same system kaya wala masyado i-aadjust. Tiwala ako kay Kyle na magstep up siya,” the three-time PVL champion coach said. “We’ll see kung gaano kagaling si Kyle. She has the experience.”
(Kyle is very focused. We have the same system that’s why she doesn’t have to make a lot of adjustments. I have faith that Kyle will step up. We’ll see how good Kyle really is. She has the experience.)
Meneses bared Creamline still has a plan to recruit another setter to back up Negrito, who was left as their lone playmaker. The Rebisco management will announce their recruit soon.
De Guzman became the second active Filipino player in Japan, joining Jaja Santiago, whom she will face on November 4 when Denso and JT Marvelous collide.