BALIPURE coach Roger Gorayeb remained unfazed in taking on a full force Creamline squad with top hitter Alyssa Valdez in the lineup for their semifinal clash in the Premier Volleyball League Open.
The Water Defenders and the Cool Smashers will collide in a back-to-back semis games on Saturday and Sunday at The Arena in San Juan and Gorayeb is more concerned about his team’s condition than on Valdez’s presence.
For the veteran mentor, he’d rather draw first blood and finish the best-of-three semifinals as soon as possible.
“Sinuman manalo sa Sabado, may chance na (tapusin ang series) sa Sunday,” said the veteran mentor. “Equal footing, walang may advantage.”
“Patapangan ng loob ‘yan, wala nang adjustment kasi kinabukasan wala nang pahinga lalaro ka uli,” he added.
Gorayeb reminded his wards, who will face Creamine at 4:00 p.m., that it doesn’t matter who they are facing - be it Valdez or an Olympian - they should always give their best.
“I respect Alyssa a lot, tatlong taong siyang naglaro sakin, pero marami naman siyang kakampi, magkakaron ng butas dyan and doon namin ika-capitalize sana breaks will go on us, not against us,” he said.
The multi-titled coach believes that both BaliPure and Creamline are equally skilled and talented in terms of individual match-ups.
BaliPure has outside hitter Grethcel Soltones to match Valdez.
The Water Defenders also have added firepower from Aiko Urdas, Jerrili Malabanan and Risa Sato, while the Cool Smashers have Cesca Racraquin, Rosemarie Vargas and Pau Soriano.
Gorayeb, however, feels that although his setter Jasmine Nabor has been living up to his expectations, Creamline playmaker Jia Morado still has the edge.
“Offensively, tao sa tao, match na match,” he said. “Si Jia decision making niya (and advantage), si Jasmine bata pa, second year pa lang sa setting. I think one more year si Jasmine magaling na pero iba talaga mag-isip si Jia.”