COACH Moro Branislav sees a bright future for the young PSL-F2 Logistics Manila team that he took over almost a month ago, as he saw some similarities to the rise of the Serbian national squad he handled before becoming an Olympic silver medalist in Rio.
“This is the first time for a Philippine team to play in this big competition to win one set. This is the same 20 years ago for the Serbian national women’s volleyball team. The same start, to play for the first time in a big tournament and win one set,” said Branislav.
The 54-year old mentor, who has travelled all over the world coaching club teams, showed how much he trusts his local players and that they can be sent into a battle against the world’s best volleyball stars in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship.
Branislav fielded the Magnificent 7- Rachel Anne Daquis, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Jaja Santiago, Kim Fajardo, Ces Molina, Mika Reyes and Jen Reyes - that took a five-point lead, 12-7, in the second set, before eventually losing the match, 17-25, 17-25, 25-23, 14-25, on Friday in front of the screaming fans inside the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I have trust in my Filipino players,” said Branislav.
“Normally, everyone thinks that PSL-F2 Logistics Manila will lose,” he admitted. “And this is a very important moment for Philippine volleyball. This is the first time the Philippine team won one set in a big competition against foreign team and this was very big important set, this set will go down in the history of Philippine volleyball.”
Even though his players faced a Eczacibasi VitrA team that benched its starters Tijana Boskovic, Thaisa Daher, Rachael Adams, Jordan Larson, Tatiana Kosheleva, Maja Ognjenovic and libero Gulden Kayalar, Branislav remained proud of his wards.
“All 14 players were smiling, and that’s important to my work, I like the good atmosphere. The most important thing is to prepare a good atmosphere for the team,” he said.
Meanwhile, home team skipper Rachel Anne Daquis turned emotional during the post-game press conference in thanking her coach.
“After noong game namin,” Daquis said with a pause while her voice started to crack. “Lumapit kami sa kanya... nag-thank you kami.”
The outside hitter from Taytay, Rizal tried to hold back her emotions and passed on the microphone to Mika Reyes.
“Pero totoo ayaw ko na (sumagot), siya (Reyes) na,” she said.
“‘Yun nga nag-thank you kami sa kanya sobrang saya ko kasi,” she continued.
Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul coach Massimo Barbolini also gave credit to the home team.
“I think they did their job. There’s not much of a difference on the physical (aspect) but on the technical point of view I think they played good,” he said.