COACH Francis Vicente is counting on former SEA Games MVP Nene Ybanez-Chavez and now assistant coach to mold Mika Reyes into a well-rounded leader during the Japan training camp of the Philippine women’s volleyball team.
“The goal is for coach Nene to tutor Mika on leadership, volleyball and life in general,” Vicente said.
“They are national (team) captains of different generation. Coach Nene’s mission is to serve as Mika’s personal mentor and inspiration in leading the team in its quest for SEA Games medal,” he added.
Vicente is also hoping the players get to know each other more off the court, setting the room assignments for the next eight days at the Okayama Plaza Hotel.
Many-time national team members Alyssa Valdez and Jovelyn Gonzaga will be in the same room, while former rivals Denden Lazaro and Kim Dy were paired in one unit.
Vicente knows that the two middle blockers Aby Marano and Gen Casugod’s opposite personalities will complement each other. Marano is an outspoken leader, while Casugod is a quiet and reserved solid defender.
“They are fire and ice,” said Vicente. “Knowing how good a motivator Aby is, I want her to push Gen to the limit and squeeze out her full potential.”
“Aby is very outspoken even during her time at La Salle, her energy is contagious. I want her to light a fire under Gen so she will play her best against the best players in Asia,” he added.
Kim Fajardo is rooming with Frances Molina, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas with Jaja Santiago, Rhea Dimaculangan with Dawn Macandili, and Maika Ortiz with physical therapist Marie Collins Ong.
“Aiza is the present while Jaja is the future. They should share a room so the wisdom of Aiza will be imparted on Jaja,” explained Vicente.
“Also, I feel that Rhea and Dawn should spend some time together. We will go far if our setter-libero connection has been established.”