PVL: Alyssa Valdez has no doubt in Kyle Negrito’s ability
MANILA, Philippines — Alyssa Valdez won’t have her longtime teammate and setter Jia De Guzman for the first time in six years.
But Valdez is confident that Kyle Negrito can fill in the big shoes left by the eight-time Best Setter when Creamline begins its title-retention bid in the season-ending Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference.
The three-time PVL Most Valuable Player admitted that the Cool Smashers are already missing the presence of De Guzman, who will play for Denso in Japan V.League. But she believes that Negrito has what it takes to succeed as a starting setter.
“We’re missing Jia so much on and off the court most especially her leadership. But we’ve always been training with Kyle during practices for the longest time also. She’s been part of the Creamline Cool Smashers for a while and she’s been representing our country as well and also she’s mentored the one and only Jia Morado as well,” said Valdez on Wednesday during the press conference.
“We’re very confident with the performance of Kyle, and we’re gonna be here supporting her all the way,” she added.
Valdez said the 26-year-old Negrito is already familiar with the system of coach Sherwin Meneses as she has been playing for Creamline since 2018 after her UAAP stint with Far Eastern University.
“We’re not making huge adjustments because Kyle has been training with us for the past five years. It’s just a matter of how we will perform during games coming from a long break,” she said. “I think one thing that coach Sherwin has been instilling in us would be the system. He’d want us to perform every game. Us, spikers and other players, we help her and our coaches to execute.”
Meneses is also confident in Negrito, who is already a veteran player in their team.
Valdez, who returned from a knee injury in their runner-up finish in the last Invitational Conference, admitted that the road to their third straight All-Filipino crown will be tougher not only because they are missing De Guzman but the 11 other squads — including newcomers Nxled and Galeries — became stronger.
“It’s an interesting conference for us definitely, a lot of adjustments, and right now, we’re very, very excited to play every single game this upcoming conference,” said Valdez. “Well, definitely with the new teams and veteran teams, we’re very much excited actually. We’re excited to see our improvements as a team and we’re taking it one step at a time.”
“Definitely it’s going to be a harder challenge and we have to climb more steps because we are now 12 teams but we’ll give them hopefully a good fight this conference,” she added.
The Cool Smashers open their quest for a back-to-back against their sister team, the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.