LIPA CITY — Tuguegarao Perlas Spikers coach Rei Diaz has faith in new recruits Julia Ipac, Jules Samonte, Wendy Semana, and Fhen Emnas after the departure of several key players ahead of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League.
Perlas Spikers new recruits
Perlas lost setter Jem Ferrer and Cherry Nunag, who were welcomed by Choco Mucho early this week. Young playmaker Gel Cayuna transferred to Cignal last month and Jeanette Villareal already joined Army, according to Diaz.
Veteran outside hitter Sue Roces will miss their short campaign due to her day job.
Diaz remained optimistic of their chances with the addition of veteran playmakers Semana from Air Force and Emnas as well as young middle blockers Ipac from Cignal and Ateneo standout Samonte.
“Silang (apat ang) tingin kong mag step up since mga beterano at mga talented talaga sila,” he said.
Tuguegarao parades its new-look squad against Premier Volleyball League champion Chery Tiggo on Saturday’s opener at 4 p.m. at the Aquamarine Recreational Center Gym.
The Perlas Spikers went through a lot in their ninth-place finish in the previous Open Conference after a covid-19 outbreak during their Baguio bubble training and missed the first week of the tournament due to another delegation, which contracted the virus in Ilocos Norte.
This time around, Diaz said his wards are more prepared and become more united with core players Nicole Tiamzon, Jho Maraguinot, Mich Morente, and Roma Doromal jelling with the newcomers.
“Yung improvement ng team technically medyo mahirap siya i-assess kasi hindi tayo makapag tune-up games,” said the Perlas coach, who came straight from a bubble training in Tuguegarao.
“Yung team management, team discipline and unity ng team talagang nagiimprove lalo na sa set up ng bubble training.”
Diaz expects a continuous development of the Perlas Spikers’ cohesion in the short tournament, where the best record in the single round robin will earn the inaugural PNVF title.
“Every game is a championship game, every point is important, all out lagi,” he said.
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