PACIFICTOWN-Army head coach KungFu Reyes is proud to see Jem Gutierrez re-introduce herself from seldom-used spiker into a game-changer.
Bench player Gutierrez proved her worth and made the most out of Reyes’s given-opportunity in the fourth set delivering the clutch hits to beat BanKo in five sets on Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference at the Arena in San Juan City.
“Actually siya na yung game-changer ngayon si Jem almost,” Reyes said. “One hundred percent ng atake patay tapos yung attempt makukuha. Para sayo tong araw na to.”
“Ang laki ng impact na ginawa ni Jem para makatulong doon sa lahat ng naglaro mula first set hanggang fifth set,” he added.
The seldom-used wing spiker was fielded mid-fourth set for Royse Tubino and nailed four of Army’s last nine points in the frame to force a decider, where she scored back-to-back hits for a rousing 11-3 start.
Gutierrez stopped Nicole Tiamzon’s run for BanKo giving the Lady Troopers a 13-7 breather before her teammateNene Bautista fired the back-to-back winning aces.
The University of Santo Tomas student-athlete used her keen observations off the court that’s why she knew how to help the team entering the game.
“Inisip ko lang na basta umangat ang bola kailangan ko lang paluin. Napansin ko kasi sa game na dapat i-down the line kaya ng palo ko dina-down the line ko,” Gutierrez said. “Nu’ng ako na ang ipinasok, nag-mindset na ko na basta na-set sa akin down the line kasi doon yung porsyento.”
She is a former UAAP beach volleyball champion with Sisi Rondina in 2016 but last played for the Tigresses in indoor volleyball in 2017 before not making it to the line up in the past two UAAP seasons.
Gutierrez is just grateful for the club league break given by Army that’s why she stepped up when the team needed her and delivered its third win in five matches to end the first round at third place.
“Naisip ko rin na must-win ang game na ito, kasi kailangan namin para sa standings mataas kami,” she said.
Now that Gutierrez made her breakout game, Reyes believes that his substitute spiker will embrace and deliver her role as the team’s sparkplug.
“At least naredeem niya yung sarili niya,” Reyes said. “‘Coach anytime bunutin mo ako, tutulong ako.’ Ganun na mangyayari ngayon anytime, any moment yung confidence level malaking bagay dahil sa ineensayo niya.”