MANILA, Philippines – Having failed to steer PayMaya to the title in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference, multi-titled mentor Roger Gorayeb is now shifting his attention to the upcoming Collegiate Conference.
The High Flyers, anchored by explosive import Tess Rountree and local ace Grethcel Soltones, were swept by the powerhouse Creamline Cool Smashers in two games in the finals last week.
They were outclassed in Game 2, as the Alyssa Valdez-led Cool Smashers claimed a 25-19, 25-20, 25-11 triumph for their first-ever championship in the league.
"Siguro, mas sabik ang Creamline kasi ang tagal na nila diyan. Naunahan pa nga namin sila last year eh," said Gorayeb, who coached BaliPure to the Open Conference title last year, before shifting teams to PayMaya.
"Siyempre, congratulations sa Creamline. Gustong-gusto na lang nila sigurong manalo," he added. "Nagkulang lang kami, pero proud pa rin ako sa mga bata, kasi nakarating kami sa finals eh."
The High Flyers will have a few months of rest before regrouping for the Open Conference.
In the meantime, Gorayeb will focus on the San Sebastian College Lady Stags, who are set to compete in the Collegiate Conference starting on July 21.
Gorayeb said he will field in 13 rookies in the competition, all of whom can suit up for San Sebastian in the NCAA women's volleyball tournament later this year.
"Mga bata 'yan eh, agresibo 'yan, gustong-gusto nilang mag-laro," he explained. "Mga potential ang mga bata eh."
His one concern is how these young players will react to performing under the bright lights of the PVL, said the coach.
"Pino-problema ko lang doon, kapag ni-nerbiyos kasi first time sa TV," Gorayeb noted.
"Ang sabi ko nga sa kanila, okay lang matalo, basta kailangan, maka-gain kayo ng experience para sa NCAA," he added.
Gorayeb memorably fielded just nine players during last year's NCAA tournament, but has a lot more weapons in his roster this time around. Likely to lead the way for the Lady Stags is middle blocker Joyce Sta. Rita.
The coach won't put PayMaya completely out of his mind, however. He will lose imports Tess Rountree and Shelby Sullivan, but will still have the core of the team that won last year's Open Conference.
"Looking forward ako na madagdagan pa, kasi does lang 'yan. Pagdating ng next conference, (kailangan ng) 14 locals na, so kailangan ko pa ng dalawa," he explained.
"Kailangan ng outside (hitter) at saka isang opposite, though pwede naman ako mag-convert. Kumpleto na ako sa gitna, may setter na ako, may libero na ako. Kulang lang ako doon sa opposite at outside," he added. "'Di natin masabi. Malay mo, mag-convert ako."
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