PVL: Army coach believes Ivy Perez can follow in Tina Salak's footsteps

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2022 07:30 PM

PVL Media.
Ivy Perez (4) celebrates with her teammates in Army Black Mamba after scoring a point against Choco Mucho. PVL Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- She still has quite a long way to go, but Ivy Perez can one day reach the standard set by legendary setter Tina Salak.

This, according to Army Black Mamba coach Rico de Guzman who highlighted the crucial role that Perez plays in their team after a four-set conquest of Choco Mucho on Tuesday afternoon.

"Siya ang pinaka-iingatan ko eh," de Guzman said after Perez piloted the Lady Troopers to a 25-22, 22-25, 26-24, 25-19 triumph against the undermanned Flying Titans in their showdown in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference.

"Parang nakikita ko sa kanya si Tina Salak. Parang ganoon," added the coach.

Salak is a legend in Philippine volleyball, having led Far Eastern University (FEU) to a pair of UAAP championships and winning four medals in the Southeast Asian Games. She is also a mainstay of the Philippine Army club team and has steered them to several titles in various leagues over the years.

Currently, Salak is part of the national team's coaching staff and was recently named the head coach of the FEU Lady Tamaraws.

"Marami pang pagdadaanan si Ivy. Kaya 'yung galing sa amin si Tina, gusto kong ipa-kwan din sa kaniya, na malakas 'yung team ng Army, malakas 'yung spiker, siya 'yung playmaker namin talaga," said de Guzman. 

"Lagi kong inuulit-ulit sa kanya na pag-aralan mo lang, Ivy. 'Pag napag-aralan mo 'yung kalaban natin, kung saan mo ibibigay 'yung bola talaga," he added.

Perez has been on a good run in the Invitational Conference, and against Choco Mucho, she tallied nine points -- including two blocks and two aces -- on top of her 27 excellent sets. Maintaining this kind of performance from their playmaker will be crucial if they hope to succeed in the tournament, said de Guzman.

"Ito lang ang iniingatan ko talaga na 'wag mawawalan ng laro. Kasi 'pag nawalan kami ng laro, wala na kaming pamalit. Alam mo naman 'yung second setter namin is maliit," said de Guzman, referring to their back-up Sarah Jane Gonzales.

"Ito lang 'yung may kakayahan na pwedeng pumalo, bumlock. Kaya lang din kami nanalo kanina, maraming na-block din siya kanina," he said.

For Perez, the challenge laid out by her coach is a difficult one, but she is not about to back down.

"Tiyatiyagain. Nakaka-pressure siya in a way, kasi Tina Salak 'yun, legend 'yun eh," she said. "Pero sabi ko nga kanina, hindi kayang pantayan 'yung mga 'yun, pero kaya namang sabayan."