ARMY players Nene Bautista, Joanne Bunag and libero Tin Agno were worth the wait for Iriga-Navy Lady Oragons as they finally broke a six-game skid and barged into win column in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference.
Bautista, Bunag, and Agno powered the Lady Oragons in surviving the Adamson-Akari Lady Falcons in five sets, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-11, ending their first round on a high note on Saturday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Iriga-Navy coach Edgar Rusit revealed that the three players were already listed in their initial lineup but they only got the clearance to play two weeks ago.
“Yung proposed lineup talaga namin kasama talaga sila,” Rusit said. “Dati na namin silang sinabihan din pero yung availability ng duty nila medyo nagadjust pa sila kaya hinintay muna namin bago maapprove yung mga papel nila kasi pag sa military kailangan may mga request ka pa.”
And it’s better late than never for Rusit and the Lady Oragons as Bautista, Bunag, and Agno delivered Iriga’s first win just in their second game of the conference following a loss to Ateneo-Motolite last October 13.
“Malaking tulong ang mga veterans namin kasi naging matibay ang pundasyon namin di kagaya noong una na parang on and off,” Rusit said. “Pero ngayon kapag matibay ang kasama mo sa loob medyo makaka-sure ka na lalaban ng todo talaga.”
For Bautista, who dropped 18 points including nine excellent, it’s the Army players’ duty to lead their younger teammates and help the Lady Oragons rise from ashes in the second round.
“Siguro kami yung nagpupush doon sa mga bata para lumaban para kumbaga ienjoy yung laro sa loob pa,” Bautista said.
But the veteran hitter insisted that they still have to work on their chemistry come second round.
“Yung samahan tapos training, training talaga na kasama sila na buo pa,” she added.
Rusit agreed as his players from Army and Navy can now focus on their PVL stint with AFP Olympics near its conclusion.
“Sa second round makakapagfocus na kami ng todo kasi matatapos na yung liga namin sa AFP,” he said. “Ngayon nakafocus na lang sa team namin ngayon sa iriga kaya yung adjustment siguro namin napakalaki siguro ng pagbabago.”