CHERRY Nunag responded to PetroGazz head coach Arnold Laniog’s challenge and proved that their team is not just about their imports.
Nunag made a breakthrough semifinals performance finishing with 12 points off nine attacks, two blocks and an ace as the Angels beat BanKo in four sets to inch a win closer from reaching their first Finals appearance.
But the former De La Salle-Dasmarinas stalwart refused to get the individual credit as the locals showed a strong support to Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson.
“Sa game namin sobrang okay eh. Ang relax ng lahat, parang ang gaan lang,” said Nunag who was named as the best player of the game on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Laniog won’t deny that Salas and Johnson brought them this far but he stressed the importance of the locals in the latter part of the tournament.
“Totoo talaga, we have good imports. We have percentage imports,” he said. “But talagang kailangan din namin ang locals which is yung dalawang middle. Alam din namin na kaya nilang magdeliver.”
That’s why the PetroGazz coach challenged middle blockers Nunag and Jeanette Panaga, who added nine points from six aces, to prove the team’s bashers that the locals are also reliable.
“Pagdating talaga sa game kailangang maka-gain ng respect kami sa mga middle blockers.
Sabi ko nga yung BanKo is no. 1 sa blocking,” Laniog said. “Sabi ko kay Cherry and Panaga, ‘it’s your time to dominate the middle attack dahil wala na si (Yasemin) Yildirim.’ Though nandyan naman si Bersola, same height lang naman kayo.”
Nunag and Panaga outplayed BanKo’s middle Kathy Bersola and replacement import Stix Horton, who replaced Yildirim, to accomplish their coach’s challenge.
After drawing the first blood and inching a win closer to the Finals, Nunag stressed that they have to take their third set loss as a huge lesson.
“Noong third set biglang bumagsak ang lahat. Siguro medyo nag-relax kami, nakompiyansa masyado,” Nunag said. “Maybe lesson na rin sa amin yun na wag ganun. More on focus lang tayo sa game, kalimutan natin lahat lahat, focus lang tayo para makuha natin ang Finals [berth].”
“Feeling ko mayroon pa akong kailangang i-adjust, medyo kulang pa. Tingin ko kailangan din naming aralin and communication din. Also ako tatag pa sa blocking kasi medyo kulang pa,” she added.