PETRON coach George Pascua has been left to ponder his options after Blaze Spikers star Dindin Santiago-Manabat announced before the team that she is pregnant.
Manabat, who married longtime boyfriend Chico Manabat in February, informed Petron teammates inside the dugout that she is three weeks on the family way, moments after the Blaze Spikers lost to underdog Foton in the deciding game of the Philippine Super Liga Finals on Saturday.
"Pagkatapos 'yun ng laro namin nagsalita si Dindin, sabi niya, 'Meron akong sasabihin, 'di na ako makakalaro sa all-Filipino (PSL Invitational Grand Prix) kasi buntis ako.' Ayun nag-iyakan na sila (players)," said a source who asked not to be named.
Pascua confirmed that Manabat, 23, will miss Petron's campaign in the PSL Invitational Cup in February, the reason he has been looking for ways to fill the void to be left by his biggest offensive star.
Pascua told Spin.ph he plans to convert Blaze Spikers mainstay Frances Molina from opposite to middle blocker and bring in Molina's former San Beda teammate Janine Marciano to make up for Santiago-Manabat's absence.
"Malaking kawalan talaga si Dindin, pero syempre 'di na pwede kasi buntis," said the veteran mentor. "Bale ang plano ay si Molina convert ko as middle tapos kunin ko rin si Marciano. Dalawang tao kasi ang kailangan para kapalit sa posisyon ni Dindin."
Pascua noted he has yet to meet with the Petron team owners to discuss his plan and seek their approval.
Meanwhile, a team owners' meeting was held late afternoon at Brewery at The Palace in Bonifacio Global City to talk about the Protect 10 list for every team for next season.
Teams will be given until January 15 to submit the names of 10 players that each squad will retain. Those not included on the list can be acquired by other teams.
If Meralco pursues plans to recall employees playing for other teams, Pascua will have to give up Petron skipper Maica Morada and libero Jen Reyes.
"If ever man na matuloy 'yun, kukunin ko si Princess Gaiser na libero," said Pascua.