Philippine Under-23 coach Roger Gorayeb tells players: 'Lay off social media'
PH coach Roger Gorayeb speaks as Alyssa Valdez listens. Freddie Dionisio

IN a bid to keep the Philippine team focused on the task at hand in Asian Under-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship, national coach Roger Gorayeb has urged his players to lay off social media.

Gorayeb said the last thing he wants is for the players to read negative comments on social media following their loss to Iran on Friday in a game marking the Philippines' return to international competition after a long absence.

“Kagabi at kaninang umaga, sabi ko, ‘Do not read social media’ kasi maraming nambabastos na doon sa social media, kapwa pa namin Pilipino,” said Gorayeb, moments after the Filipinas bounced back with a four-set win over Kazakhstan to book a place in the quarterfinals.

Volleyball stars are among the most high-profile Philippine athletes on social media and command hundreds of thousands of followers on the social networking site Twitter.

Gorayeb himself came under fire on social media following the loss to Iran, with netizens taking aim at the national coach's alleged preference to use players from Ateneo and his own NU team during the match.

The coach obviously read some of the comments.

“I advised them na huwag basahin (ang mga comments) and we stay together. Ano man ‘yung marinig natin, hayaan niyo sila. Basta dito lang tayo lahat,” said Gorayeb.

[See Philippines overcomes late drama to beat Kazakhstan, reach quarters]

Instead of foring back, Gorayeb asked for support from fellow Filipinos as the hastily assembled team moves on to the playoff phase where taller and stronger sides await the hosts.

“I was asking everybody to support us na lang. They are young and inexperienced. Hindi naman kami tall pero kailangan lang ng mga bata ng suporta," he said.

"For them, gusto namin sa kanila na ituloy lang namin ito keysa ‘yung maiinis sila na nagpapakapagod sila tapos ganun pa ‘yung mababasa natin,” Gorayeb added.

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