THE absence of sisters Dindin and Jaja Santiago proved to be a big blow for the celebrated Cagayan Valley Bomberinas as they failed to capture the Philippine National Games women’s volleyball crown despite a loaded roster.
Without the talented Santiago sisters – and their teammates from National University – the Bomberinas bowed to Philippine Air Force in four sets during the gold medal match Saturday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The Bomberinas were expected to dominate the PNG tilt after several top-notch teams decided to skip the tournament.
The loss momentarily impeded whatever gains the volleyball community gained the past few days especially after the Asian Volleyball Confederation recently gave a green light for a Philippine team to participate in the upcoming Southeast Asian qualifiers for the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championships in Vietnam this month.
Cagayan Valley coach Sammy Acaylar admitted that a day before the gold medal match, the Santiagos, along with NU teammates Rubie De Leon and Ivy Perez asked to be excused as they will be seeing action Sunday for the Lady Bulldogs in the deciding Game Three of the 10th Shakey’s V-League First Conference Finals against defending champion Ateneo.
“Yesterday (Friday), nag-paalam sa amin ‘yung mga players ng NU in preparation for the championship of the V-League,” Acaylar said. “Although I told them, you still have the responsibility because you are being given an allowance by Cagayan.”
But Acaylar said he understands the players’ situation.
“Hindi ko naman sila mapipilit. Aminin natin na ang national team, katatayo lang, hindi katulad ng national team noon na ‘yun ang uunahin. Ngayon, iba na eh,” said Acaylar.
Acaylar said the absence of the players obviously affected the team’s play match against Air Force in the championship match
“During the time na nag-pe-prepare kami (sa PNG), kumpleto kami. Iba ‘yung hindi kumpleto kasi nasisira `yung strategy ng buong team. Pero sinabi ko sa kanila to just play and enjoy the game at ipakita natin sa tao ‘yung team natin,” Acaylar said.
Acaylar believes the bump on the road is just normal as the team plays in the world championship qualifier soon.
“We have to move on and practice some more in preparation for other leagues like local and international. It doesn’t happen overnight. Kumbaga sa negosyo, tanggapin mo muna ‘yung pagkatalo, pero dahan dahan, aahon ‘yan,” said Acaylar.