Roger Gorayeb returns to coaching while battling the Big C

Mar 2, 2020
PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

NOT even cancer can stop Roger Gorayeb from doing what he loves most.

The seasoned mentor stunned everyone on Saturday when he called the shots for PLDT in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix despite reports saying that he won’t be back to his post until March.

“March na bukas ah,” Gorayeb, who's still undergoing chemotherapy due to multiple myeloma, chuckled after their match against Sta. Lucia.

But turning serious, the multi-titled coach said he’s still far from feeling a 100%, with doctors reminding him to refrain from doing his regular routine.

“Nagche-chemo pa, once a week. So medyo mahina tapos 'yung boses ko, wala," he said. "Nahihirapan ako magsalita. Bawal sa akin ma-stress, bawal talaga. Actually, maski PLDT, ayaw ako paupuin. Gusto nila na consultant muna, pero paano ko matitiis 'yan, 'di ba? Nandito ako pero wala akong magawa?

“Magpahinga [sabi ng doctor]. 'Wag magpa-stress. Ang tigas [ng ulo ko], ayaw ako pag-drive-in, eh December nagda-drive na ako,” he revealed.

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The outspoken coach explained his actions.

“Nahihihiya man ako pero trabaho eh," said Gorayeb. "All my life, active ako eh tapos ngayon paupo-upo ako parang hindi ko kaya, mahirap para sa akin. 'Di kaya ng sistema ng katawan ko, buti sana sanay tayo sa paupo-upo lang.”

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During the game, which was won by the retooled Sta. Lucia side in straight sets, the usually animated mentor was seen standing up from time to time to yell out instructions from the bench.

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He also bared that he's still the one who leads everyday practice, but it's his assistant coaches who conduct the drills because he’s too weak to do those.

“Nandoon ako. Nagbibigay ako instructions. Hindi lang ako makapalo kasi wala akong pwersa hanggang ngayon," he said. "Hindi nga ako makapagbukas ng bote ng softdrinks, mahina talaga. Kaya ko naman tumayo, siyempre 'yun lang intensity 'pag ako nagpapatakbo, iba siyempre kaso wala akong magawa hanggang doon lang."

Gorayeb, though, made sure that he could manage, stressing there’s no need for everyone to worry about him.

“Kaya ko naman 'yan. Kapag hindi ko kaya sasabihin ko naman, though medyo nahihilu-hilo ako [sa game]. Okay lang, as much as possible nakaupo na lang ako,” he said.

Last year, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and was confined at the hospital for almost two months.

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PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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