SMART coach Roger Gorayeb has kept mum on when star players Alyssa Valdez and Dindin Santiago will suit up for his undermanned team in the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Open Conference.
In the absence of the two stars, Gorayeb had to rely on a 10-woman rotation bannered by Rubie De Leon, Charo Soriano, and Jem Ferrer in leading the team to three wins in its first three games.
However, the lack of personnel finally took its toll on the Net Spikers on Tuesday when it suffered a straight-set loss to Cagayan Valley, 25-23, 26-24, 25-20.
Gorayeb admitted he has no idea on when Ateneo star Valdez and top National University player Santiago, the MVP of the V-League's First Conference, will come on board for Smart.
“Hindi ko alam. Hindi ko naman sila pinipilit kung kailan sila pwede (maglalaro) sa team,” he said.
Valdez, a third-year student at Ateneo, showed up for Smart’s game on Sunday against Meralco in civilian clothes, but was a no-show for the match against the Lady Rising Suns as she is reportedly preparing for the UAAP beach volleyball tournament that starts on Saturday.
Santiago, meanwhile, was in uniform for Smart’s game against Meralco but wasn’t fielded in. The Lady Bulldogs stalwart didn’t show up for the game versus Cagayan, with Gorayeb explaining that she has to focus on her thesis.
The Smart coach also admitted that Santiago is still awaiting word from school officials with regards to her V-League stint with Smart.
"Wala si Dindin ngayon kasi may thesis daw siya," said Gorayeb. "Kakausapin pa siya yata ng mga opisyal."
Pressed on who would be making the decision with regards to the release of Santiago, the Smart coach clammed up.
"Ayaw ko na magsalita,” he said.
Aside from De Leon, Soriano, and Ferrer, the other players holding the fort for Smart include Sue Roces, Maru Banaticla, Mica Guliman, Gretchel Soltones, and libero Melissa Gohing.