MANILA, Philippines -- The BanKo Perlas Spikers were admittedly surprised to see Motolite play with a new import during their match in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Edina Selimovic was out with an injury, and the Perlas Spikers' expectation was that Motolite would play with just one import -- Channon Thompson.
"Nagulat kami kasi may bago pa lang import, hindi namin alam," admitted BanKo captain Nicole Tiamzon. "We thought na si Thompson lang talaga ang import."
Instead, in uniform for Motolite was Trinidad and Tobago's Krystle Esdelle, who arrived from Bucharest on Wednesday morning and immediately suited up for her new team.
Though clearly not at 100%, Esdelle showed flashes of what she can do, and BanKo found itself dragged to the limit by the young Motolite squad. Fortunately for the Perlas Spikers, Tiamzon and import Kia Bright repeatedly came up with clutch hits, and they hacked out a 26-24, 32-30, 26-24 triumph.
"Kahit may mga ganoong situation, kailangan namin mag-adjust agad eh. Hindi man namin na-scout yung Motolite na import na 'yun, pero pabilisan nga ng adjust sa game na 'yun," said Tiamzon.
Bright, who scored 20 points, was "caught off guard" to see that Motolite had a new import all ready to play.
"(But) I think the main focus was to not let that affect our game plan, or what we plan to go out there and do. We need to focus on our side of the net and not theirs. She came out there and she challenged us and we went with it regardless," she said.
The American import commended her team for being quick to adjust to Esdelle's presence, especially when it came to blocking her attacks.
"We just became aware of her, like hey there's another import on the floor now, recognizing that she's a lefty," Bright explained.
"Other than that, everyone seemed pretty calm, there was no panic, and we just went out there and played the game that we know we can play," she added.
Both Bright and Tiamzon were delighted to have claimed the victory, especially after a marathon second set that took them 37 minutes to win. With the result, BanKo improved to 2-2 in the conference, and bounced back after a listless performance against Creamline in their previous game.
"I think though the other team challenged us a lot in the end, we just never let go of holding that rope, and I think that rope for us, I'm proud of that, for us hanging in there during those tough times," siad Bright.
"We stepped up na lang din as a team, not individuals," added Tiamzon. "Nag-regroup kami whenever we're feeling down, at kailangan namin mag-recover agad."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.