PVL: Coach Pascua wants PLDT to embrace new opportunities in Invitational

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2022 04:43 PM

The PLDT High Speed Hitters finished in fifth place in the PVL Open Conference. PVL Media.
The PLDT High Speed Hitters finished in fifth place in the PVL Open Conference. PVL Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- The PLDT High Speed Hitters expect to play at a higher level in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference, with head coach George Pascua urging his team to embrace the opportunities given to them.

This marks only the second conference for the squad, with Pascua having taken charge ahead of last March's Open Conference. Despite the brief build-up, PLDT salvaged a fifth-place finish in the tournament, outlasting F2 Logistics in the classification phase.

With more time to prepare and a conference's worth of experience in playing together, Pascua is more confident in what his team can show in the Invitational that starts on Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

"Medyo okay na 'yung chemistry nila," Pascua said in a recent interview. "Kasi 'yung unang conference, talagang bitin eh. So hindi mo makikita talaga 'yung full-blast na performance."

"Eto, medyo matagal-tagal. May mga adjustments na pwede naming gawin," he added.

Still leading the way for PLDT is veteran setter Rhea Dimaculangan, and she will have Mika Reyes, Toni Rose Basas, Mean Mendrez, Eli Soyud, Dell Palomata, Jovie Prado, and Jules Samonte among her attacking options. 

Anchoring their defense is ace libero Kath Arado.

"Sabi ko sa mga players, every game is an opportunity," said Pascua. "Opportunity natin makalaban 'yung foreign teams."

"Kahit papaano, 'pag nagkaroon tayo ng experience against foreign teams, 'di man tayo manalo, at least 'yung experience na 'yun, pwede nating basehan para mag-improve pa," he added.

The Invitational Conference features seven local clubs competing for four spots in the semifinals, where they will be joined by guest teams from Taiwan and Japan.

PLDT will open their group round campaign on July 12 against the Chery Tiggo Crossovers at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

"It is only our second conference as a team, and we are expecting to apply what we have learned from the first and in our training the past few months," Reyes said. "Any team would wish for a championship, but I would rather expect a good result first, one game at a time."

"We've been practicing regularly and building our team chemistry. We are still a work in progress, but our outlook is promising," she added.