New FEU coach grateful for Salak after triumphant UAAP debut

New FEU coach grateful for Salak after triumphant UAAP volleyball debut

/ 05:39 PM February 18, 2024

FEU coach Manolo Refugia UAAP volleyball

FEU coach Manolo Refugia.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — New FEU coach Manolo Refugia is honored to have Tina Salak on his side in his first UAAP coaching gig for the Lady Tamaraws.

Refugia, a former FEU setter, made an impressive debut after the Lady Tamaraws swept the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 25-23, 25-21, 25-18, in the Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

“Siguro same ‘yung feeling nung time ko na naglalaro. Exciting siya pero mas iba ngayon kasi sa sidelines, more intense, mas popular na ‘yung volleyball ngayon,” said Refugia. “Nakaka-overwhelm para sa mga players, sa lahat ng teams, masaya. Masaya ‘yung feeling.”

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Refugia was tasked to replace Salak after she stepped down last year and was relegated to team consultant due to her migration.

Tina Salak

Tina Salak.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

The legendary setter returned to the country after her wedding to be with the Lady Tamaraws and Akari, where she will serve as assistant coach in the PVL.

The youthful FEU coach admitted it’s overwhelming to be guided by Salak but it’s fulfilling for their team.

“Bilang isang player na ma-coachan ka ng isang Coach T (Salak). Napaka-fulfilling na ‘yun sa mga feelings ng bata. What more pa ‘yung isang coach [gaya ko] na ma-coach ka, ma-guide ka ni Coach T papunta sa magandang sistema,” Refugia said. “Pinapasa niya sa’kin na tinatrabaho namin ng mga girls kung ano ‘yung dapat naming tignan sa mga susunod pa.”

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Setter Tin Ubaldo, who had 14 excellent sets and seven points, said they never missed the presence of Salak as she continued to guide them when she was out of the country.

“Halos same system lang naman po si coach Nols sa kanya. Ayun nga po gina-guide nya nga po si coach Nols kahit malayo po siya kaya parang hindi po kami nahihirapan mag-adjust masyado sa system,” said Ubaldo. “Yung last year same system, this year better system.”

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Gerzel Petallo, who topscored with 16 points including four blocks, having Salak on their side makes them stronger, mentally and emotionally.

“For me po, it’s giving us assurance talaga like wala kami ikakabahala kasi andyan sila,” Petallo said. “Alam ko kung may errors man, okay lang, bawi lang yun ganun kasi alam namin na andyan sila.”

Although he had a successful debut as FEU coach, Refugia seeks to improve his team’s composure and consistency ahead of their next match against La Salle on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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“Siguro itong first game, magiging basehan namin, parang buwelo papunta sa mga susunod pang games,” Refugia said. “So nate-test ‘yung chemistry namin, ‘yung pinag-trainingan namin ng ilang buwan. ‘Yung relationship namin ng girls, from coaches to players, nate-test naman dito sa UAAP.”

TAGS: FEU Lady Tamaraws, Tina Salak, UAAP Season 86

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