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    Perfect attendance brightens mood at practice as SEA Games team buckles down to work

    May 22, 2015
    Players and coaches of the Philippine team all smiles after practice. Mei-Lin Lozada

    "MASAYA, masayang-masaya."

    Those were the words of national coach Roger Gorayeb after the team bound for the Southeast Asian Games practiced for the first time with a perfect attendance on Friday night at the Blue Eagle gym in Ateneo.

    The veteran mentor was visibly elated to see a full complement of players show up as the team buckled down to work, two weeks before leaving for the Singapore showpiece on June 4.

    "Nabuo rin kami sa wakas," he told Spin.ph. "Sana sa Singapore wala na umabsent."

    Alyssa Valdez, Rachel Anne Daquis, Jaja Santiago, Bea De Leon, Rhea Dimaculangan, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aby Maraño, Jia Morado, Maika Ortiz, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Gretcel Soltones and Denden Lazaro make up the team that will be competing in the SEA Games for the first time in a decade.

    Gorayeb at the same time expressed hope that the start of full practice will bring an end to divisiveness after a controversial selection process marred by accusations of favoritism.

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    [See Romasanta defends Gorayeb over 'favoritism' accusations]

    As the multi-titled coach appealed for respect and understanding from fans, he said he will try to understand supporters as well.

    "Masaya na naka-kumpleto na kami pero hindi maiiwasan 'yung nga tao na may iba nagmumura na," he said. "Wala na akong magagawa doon."

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    "Ang sa akin lang kung papakinggan ko ang lahat ng mga fans na 'yan kulang ang 50 na players para makabuo ng national team," he added.

    "Uunawain ko na lang sila at sana naman eh magkaisa na," continued Gorayeb. "Ang sa akin naman eh alam kong mas marami ang magdarasal. Ipagpapa sa diyos ko na lang."

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    Players and coaches of the Philippine team all smiles after practice. Mei-Lin Lozada
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