Bracing for battle with youngsters, Army working on player combinations to manage minutes of veterans
Army has yet to drop a set in two matches, and coach Kungfu Reyes hopes to avoid getting into extended matches with tough teams. Dante Peralta

COACH Kungfu Reyes is working on various player combinations to manage the minutes of veteran-laden RC Cola Army players, as they brace for battle against younger squads.

The Troopers have some of the most experienced players, with an average age of almost 28, but Reyes is concerned it could be a problem when playing four- and five-set matches against teams with younger players.

Good thing for the Troopers, they have yet to drop a set in two matches.

“Mas nagwo-worry ako actually sa team namin kasi baka maubusan ng gasolina sa dulo,” said Reyes.

The Lady Troopers are in a three-way tie for the lead with defending champion Petron and F2 Logistics at 2-0.

[See Army forces three-way tie for top spot with rout of hapless Cignal]

Tina Salak, the setter and team leader,

“Kasi nga ano kami, the ‘Thunder Team’, sobrang tanda na,” said the 40-year-old Salak.

“So hindi rin niya (Reyes) alam kung paano namin masu-survive ’yung transition kung hanggang saan kami sa huli.”  

“Kaya sa training namin nagmi-mix kami, kung makaka-adopt si younger ones kay older ones much better and kung kakayanin ni older ones na sumabay sa older ones, like ’yung mga skills and drills, mas maigi para sa amin,” she added.

Jovelyn Gonzaga is 24, Rachel Anne Daquis is 28, Honey Royse Tubino is 23, and Jessey de Leon, 21.

Reyes said age is not an excuse for them not to perform and compete.

“Our age is our strength and at the same time weakness, but you can never teach experience, doon kami lalaban sa experience namin karamihan naman sa team namin nakapag international tournament na so malaking factor ’yun para sa amin,” he said.

“Dito kasi (sa PSL) hindi ka pwedeng magpabaya kasi kakainin ka ng buhay,” he said.

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