STA. ROSA, Laguna — Grethcel Soltones didn’t waste her chance to play for the women’s national team as she sparked their depleted roster against powerhouse Thailand in the ASEAN Grand Prix Second Leg.
“Noong binigyan ako ng pagkakataon ni Coach Shaq (Delos Santos), sabi ko hindi ko papalagpasin 'to,” said Soltones after the 10-woman Philippines absorbed a three-set loss to Thailand on Sunday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-purpose Gym
Soltones, who was tasked to fill the void left by Kalei Mau this Second Leg tourney, delivered five points and had a tremendous floor defense with 10 digs and nine excellent receptions, coming off the bench.
When the San Sebastian College standout was still on the bench, she noticed that her teammates‘ movement was rigid, so she encouraged everyone to loosen up when coach Shaq Delos Santos fielded her.
“Ang inisip ko lang talaga kanina, tiningnan ko sila, ang galaw ng teammates ko ay sobrang stiff,” Soltones said. “Kaya ang parati kong sinasabi sa kanila, katulad ng sinasabi ni coach Shaq parati, wag masiyadong stiff kasi hindi naman kailangan dapat lahat perfect kasi Thailand e.”
“So dapat i-enjoy lang. 'Yun lang ang naitulong ko sa team na mag-enjoy, ngiti lang 'pag nagkamali bawi lang,” she added.
The outside hitter, who played for the country in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, didn’t have a hard time communicating with her teammates as she already teamed up with most of them like Aby Marano, Jasmin Nabor and Mylene Paat before.
“Hindi masiyadong mahirap since maliit lang 'yung mundo ng volleyball. Kahit kami ni ate Aby, nagkateammate na din kami dati sa SEA Games 2015,” she said.
Despite her fine showing, the former three-time NCAA MVP admitted that Thailand is still a formidable team in the Southeast Asia but the national will definitely learn something from this before the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“As I can say, hindi naman na sinasabi ko na sobrang under tayo, pero kasi iba talaga 'pag Thailand na sobrang bilis ng mga sets, which is tayo kulang rin sa mga ganun. Marami pa tayong dapat matutunan,” Soltones said.