FOR their commitment to the national cause, four players got three hours of intensive training under a tough Thai drillmaster.
It was an experience that left University of Santo Tomas pair Ria Meneses and EJ Laure exhausted but satisfied.
Meneses and Laure joined Lady Eagles Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado as the only players to show up in Day One of the Philippine Under-23 team’s training, and the two Tigresses got a taste of coach Tai Bundit’s vaunted regimen.
Head coach Roger Gorayeb was also absent as he handles the Philippine team in the AVC Beach Volleyball tournament in Thailand, leaving consultant and trainer Tai to run the first practice.
The lack of players didn't stop Bundit from proceeding as scheduled.
After hours of running and spiking drills, the UST duo looked spent, while Valdez and Morado were still smiling as if they can do another round.
“Pagod na pagod ako pero masaya,” said Meneses, sitting on the floor wiping away the sweat from her forehead.
“Natutukan kami ni Coach Tai, ’yun nga lang nakakapagod,” added the UAAP Best Blocker awardee. “Pero masaya kasi siyempre ibang coach kaya iba-iba rin ang mako-contribute nila sa bawat player.”
Laure, the 17-year-old UAAP Rookie of the Year, felt like she was running out of gas, her cheeks turning red.
“Hindi ako sanay sa ganoong training kasi super intense,” said Laure. “Kasi kanina parang nawawalan na ako ng hininga, parang nauuhaw na ako. Sa UST kasi hindi ganoon. So naninibago lang. Sobra.”
Gretchel Soltones, also included in the 13-player pool, is also Thailand, while officials have yet to release a statement on the status of others.
“Nakakapagod pala kapag konti,” said Laure.