BACARRA, Ilocos Norte — Not even kilometers of separation and limits of strict bubble can put a dent on the father-daughter connection of volleyball coach Edgar Barroga and daughter Gyra of BaliPure.
Edgar may be in the confines of their home in Paranaque, but his mentoring still reaches his daughter, currently far to the north in Ilocos, with Gyra perfectly executing their past quarantine trainings to help the Water Defenders in their suprising winning run in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.
The La Salle standout unleashed four consecutive aces early in the fourth set to beat her dad’s former team, Cignal, on Sunday at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center.
“Iniisip ko rin yung naging training ko sa bahay sa quarantine with me and my dad. Sabi niya sa akin pag ganun ipasok ko lang and target ako,” Gyra shared. “Huwag ko masyado lakasan, wag ako manggigil and always have the presence of mind.”
The 22-year-old outside hitter finished with six attacks, five aces, and a block for 12 points.
When the TV crew called Gyra for the player of the game nod, she borrowed coach Rommel Abella’s whiteboard to write her greetings to her family — including a message that read, "Hi Dad!"
Edgar Barroga, former Cignal coach, proud of daughter Gyra
Edgar, who witnessed his daughter’s breakout game in television, said their family is very proud on how Gyra culminated her hard work from the one year volleyball layoff.
“Kasi ang prinactice namin ng husto nung ECQ is depensa niya at saka yung service niya kasi sabi ko: ‘Diyan ka pwede makatulong lalo na pag malalakas ang mga spikers sa inyo,’” the veteran coach told SPIN.ph in a phone call.
“Actually hoping na mai-apply niya kasi iba yung sa training na ginagawa tapos minsan hindi lumalabas sa laro. So nung na-groom niya yung sarili niya doon lumabas yung mga pinagaralan niya. Happy naman ako kasi kahit papaano naapply niya yung mga pinaghirapan niya.”
Their father-daughter virtual connection worked wonders for Gyra when she delivered BaliPure’s second win in three matches.
The 5-foot-10 spiker immediately called her family.
“Siya yung unang humanap sa akin. Sabi ko lang: ‘Nak, good job lahat ng pinaghirapan mo lumalabas. Ibi sabihin kapag naghirap ka, lalabas yung mga pinaghirapan mo.’ Tuwang tuwa naman siya,” Edgar shared.
Aside from his daughter’s breakout game, Barroga was also touched with the unexpected congratulatory messages from some of his former players in Cignal, whom he led to a magical Finals run in the 2019 Philippine Superliga All Filipino Conference. (The elder Barroga was not not renewed last year.)
“Ang nakakatuwa yung mga dati kong players sa Cignal ni-reach out ako, parang nag-congratulate. Doon ako natuwa kasi happy rin sila sa naging performance ni Gyra. Yun ang magandang na-receive kong mga private message from them,” he said. “Medyo happy ako kasi siyempre kahit papaano naalala nila ako.”
With Gyra playing far from home in theses trying times, Edgar admitted that they’ve been missing his daughter in family occasions. But thanks to social media, she’s virtually present.
The Barroga family is always praying together the night before BaliPure’s game days. Hours before their match, Gyra would call her dad to ask more advice that she could add to her coach’s game plan.
“Usually yun ang nagiging routine. Nakakatuwa naman kasi nagagawa niya ang lahat ng bilin namin,” Edgar said. “Lagi kong sinasabi: Kapag nag-struggle ka, wag ka masyado mag-isip para hindi maapektuhan yung attitude mo sa loob ng court, at the same time hindi ka makakahawa sa mga teammates mo.”
He added: “Lagi ko rin sinasabi sa kanya na, Anak, hindi sa lahat ng oras magiging kompleto yung performance mo, merong isang basic sa volleyball na pwede mong maitulong sa team. Yun nga nangyari sa service nya."
It would have been a perfect moment for Edgar if he had also been in Ilocos to watch Gyra play in the first professional volleyball league in the country.
But for Edgar, these trying times will make her daughter stronger for the rest of the PVL bubble.
“Alam mong baby pa rin yan pagdating sa family. Hindi nawawala yung umiiyak yan pero siyempre yun yung nagpapalakas ng loob sa kanya, yung pagkakahiwalay namin,” he said.
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