MULTI-titled coach Roger Gorayeb believes that with enough time and proper training, the current crop of young Filipina stars would be a force to reckon with in the international scene, even as he tries to tone down expectations as the country sees action in the Southeast Asian qualification tournament for the World Championships.
Gorayeb said he is a bit bothered a hastily formed team is being sent to a big tournament, but sees its benefits if the squad would be made part for a long term program.
“Actually kung ang iisipin ko ito lang tournament na ito talagang mabo-bother ka,” said the man tapped to call the shots for the selection also just a week ago.
“Para kaming ibinala sa kanyon. Pero kung ang iisipin ko yung long term, maganda ang potential nito. Sana lang ma-maintain hundred percent kundisyon physically.”
Led by the towering sisters Dindin and Jaja Santiago, veteran setter Rubie De Leon, and ace spiker Alyssa Valdez, the 12-woman team will leave for Vietnam on Wednesday, just a week after their first practice.
The zone qualification tournament featuring the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietman is set June 14 to 16. The main Asian qualifiers featuring the top teams from the different zones are set in Japan and China in September, respectively.
The 2014 Women’s World Volleyball Championships is set in Italy.
“On a long term basis maganda chances kasi malalaki ang mga batang ito, but given the time available wala, wala pa ngang isang linggo eh,” he said.
“Ang mabigat kasi doon `yung pag-je-jell noong team yun ang malaking problema ko sa ngayon eh.”
Other members of the team are Myla Pablo, Jen Reyes from the National University, Rhea Dimaculangan and Maika Ortiz of University of Santo Tomas, Pau Soriano from Adamson, Iari Yongco of De La Salle-Dasmarinas, former University of Perpetual Help libero Jheck Dionela, and many-time V-League guest player Suzanne Roces.
Still, Gorayeb has his faith in his team and promised to go all out for flag and country, looking to pull the rug from under the favorites.
“We will just rely on maturity na parang mag-iintindihan sila walang maghahanapan kasi magkakakilala naman yan sila. Volleyball naman ’to eh di naman yan ibang sport na ma-e-alienate sila.”
“Susubukan namin managasa doon, pupunta kami doon, ipinadala kami, we will play as a Filipino, we will play as a team. We will represent the Filipinos to the highest level that we can.”