RHEA Dimaculangan heeded the call of head coach Shaq Delos Santos to help the women’s national volleyball team campaign anew in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Dimaculangan was a surprise late addition to the final roster of the Filipina Spikers in the country’s hosting of the biennial game from November 28 to December 11.
The Nationals lost a setter to play alongside playmaker Jia Morado as Alohi Robins-Hardy won’t be eligible in time for the SEA Games due to lack of Philippine passport.
But Delos Santos found his best choice as he was able to convince Dimaculangan to don the national team jersey and try to end a 14-year medal drought anew.
It was an unexpected call but the Petron playmaker didn’t want to reject her long time coach’s trust, especially that it is for the country.
“Actually nakakatuwa kasi andoon pa rin 'yung tiwala ni coach. So binigay ni coach 'yung tiwala na 'yun so pangangatawanan ko nalang,” said Dimaculangan, who has played under Delos Santos since her years with University of Santo Tomas.
The national team coach was grateful that he was able to convince the former PSL All-Filipino MVP, who will be a big boost to a team by sharing her experience and providing brilliant plays.
“Kaya thankful ako siyempre nag agree rin si Rhea na i-grab 'yung opportunity kasi sinabi ko naman sa kaniya na isa siya sa maayos na setter dito sa atin,” Delos Santos said. “And experience-wise, meron siya. So, kaya 'yun, walang hesitation na kunin siya o para pabalikin siya sa National team.”
It will be Dimaculangan’s third straight SEA Games appearance.
With all the exposures, experiences and preparations that the Philippines absorbed, the veteran setter believes that this could be the time that the Filipina Spikers could regain a podium finish in the SEA Games.
“Siguro 'yung team kasi ngayon parang ang dami ng training camp na pinagdaanan, so feeling ko mas kayang lumaban this SEA Games,” Dimaculangan said. “Lahat parang nagma-mature na rin 'yung mga players at hindi na rin naninibago sa international competition so feeling ko kaya naman.”