NATIONAL team skipper Aby Maraño and mainstay Alyssa Valdez are glad to have veteran Jovelyn Gonzaga and first-timers Maddie Madayag and Roselyn Doria on board.
The women’s volleyball team that will see action in the Southeast Asian Grand Prix on September 20 to 22 in Thailand held its practice on Thursday at Arellano University in Taft Avenue, Manila.
Team captain of the 2015 team that saw action in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, Gonzaga, who’s fully recovered from an ACL injury she sustained two years ago, is back on her tour of duty.
“Malaking bagay na nandito siya [Gonzaga] sa amin [sa national team], syempre beterano siya, kumpyansa ‘yung feeling na andyan siya dahil sa leadership niya,” said Maraño.
“Ate Joves ang masasabi ko lang puso at determinasyon ang puhunan at isa siyang inspirasyon,” said Valdez. “She’ll help really the team not only sa pagbigay ng puntos, ‘yung leadership talaga niya. We really need that lalong lalo na tayo ang maghohost at kailangan nating lumaban.”
Meanwhile, Madayag and Doria were called to fill in the void left by Jaja Santiago, whose Japanese club, Ageo Medics, did not grant her request to play for the national team.
“Mga bata magandang tulong sa mga veterans,” said Valdez. “Maganda rin na may next generation din na papasok kasi siyempre preparation also sa future. But hopefully mas madami pa na mas talented and skillful na young ones na buong buong puso na makasama sa national team.”
“Maddie tibay ng blocking so malaking tulong din talaga. Doria, haven’t seen her for a while, I believe she’s really delivering in her team so we’re really hoping na mag-jell kami,” she added. “I think that’s the crucial part, it’s really the jelling and chemistry of the team going to the sea games.”
All but one in the 16-women lineup was present: Maraño, Valdez, Fil-Hawaiian duo of Kalei Mau and Alohi Robins-Hardy, Mylene Paat, Majoy Baron, Eya Laure, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Ces Molina, Iris Tolenada, Dawn Macandili, Kath Arado, Gonzaga, Madayag and Doria.
Jia Morado missed the practice due to gastroenteritis.
“Ganado kami sa ensayo, kahit light lang ‘yung training talagang sineseryoso namin, binibigay namin ang 100 percent namin,” said Maraño.