ALYSSA Valdez and Jia Morado have no hard feelings toward the decision of head coach Shaq Delos Santos to rely on second stringers in the endgame of their heartbreaking defeat to Indonesia.
The Philippines was a point close to winning bronze in the fifth set but its 14-12 advantage crumbled down at the hands of Arsella Nuari Purnama and Megawati Hangestri Pertiwi for a 25-20, 24-26, 25-15, 20-25, 16-14 victory on Monday.
Though she felt regretful that she was not able to help her team inside the court, Valdez, who poured in 14 points in the first three sets, was just limited to cheering and praying on the sidelines in the last two frames as the second stringers sparked a comeback.
“Nanghihinayang siyempre, when you’re outside, you can’t contribute anything. You really just have to pray and really believe,” she said. “Yun lang, but honestly, really happy sa performances ng lahat.”
The national team star insisted she respects the decision of his coach and she was happy about how her teammates in Mika Reyes, Eya Laure, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Ces Molina, and Majoy Baron sparked the comeback from a set deficit.
“Well, I’m very happy for the team, really happy for everyone na nagde-deliver din. Really happy na nakikita namin yung pinagpapaguran namin,” Valdez said. “It’s the decision of our coaches naman. Feeling ko mas nakikita nila kung ano yung mga kailangan ng team. So yun yung best decision na nangyari. Maganda rin naman hanggang dulo, lumaban din naman yung team.”
Morado, who had limited action in the endgame as Rhea Dimaculangan took charge, also had no problem with Delos Santos’ gamble, which worked to force a fifth set.
“Everyone delivered, everyone contributed and I think yung mga decision ni Coach Shaq, siguro nakita niya, nabasa niya kung ano yung mga kailangang gawin ng team,” Morado said. “Kung ano yung kailangan naming i-adjust. It was a great adjustment from Coach Shaq.”
Many fans criticized Delos Santos for his rotation but he already had an agreement with his wards to respect the decision of the coaching staff last Sunday.
“Actually, yesterday, nag-usap na kami siyempre kung ano ang magiging diskarte ng coaches ire-respect,” Delos Santos said. “Siguro yung sitwasyon lang din na siyempre may nagi-step up din, merong ibang teammate niya na nagiging okay. Alam nila kung ano ang diskarte namin ire-respect nila and ganoon din kami. Understanding talaga.”
But regardless of the crucial decision of Delos Santos not to field Valdez in the final set, it was still a heart-pounding moment for the Philippine women’s volleyball team, which failed to end a 14-year medal drought in a shorter and relatively easier tournament of four countries.
“It’s really heartbreaking, really frustrating. But I think, sabi nga nila sa loob kanina, if it’s not for us, if it’s not our time, it’s not our time,” Valdez said. “One thing lang na napag-usapan namin ay kung ano yung mga kailangan pa naming i-improve, ano pa yung kailangan naming baguhin para mas gumanda yung sistema namin as a team.”