SSC-R's Grethcel Soltones: ‘Atat na atat na kaming manalo’

Ceej Tantengco on Jan 09, 2016 06:49 PM
SSC-R's Grethcel Soltones: ‘Atat na atat na kaming manalo’
“Experience is the best teacher, diba? Ang sakit noong hindi kami nanalo last year, at sa tingin ko may natutunan naman ‘yung buong team doon,” -- Gretchel Soltones

Grethcel Soltones is out for blood.

While the San Sebastian College–Recoletos Lady Stags dominated the individual awards in NCAA Season 90, they fell short in the finals against the Arellano University Lady Chiefs. This year, team captain Grethcel believes the team is hungrier than ever.

“Experience is the best teacher, diba? Ang sakit noong hindi kami nanalo last year, at sa tingin ko may natutunan naman ‘yung buong team doon,” says Gretch, as her teammates call her. “Atat na atat na kaming manalo.”

The Lady Stags have retained key players like Gretch (Season MVP and Best Scorer), Alyssa Eroa (Best Receiver), Nikka Dalisay (Rookie of the Year), but Coach Roger Gorayeb’s training has only gotten more intense this Season 91.

Gretch shakes her head and smiles when she recalls the "one-man" drills that Gorayeb runs in practices. There, a single player must receive and return every ball for three straight minutes, and the national team coach doesn't mince words when his players aren't up to snuff. Gretch describes the exhaustion in one word: "Demonyo."

With their spot in the Final Four assured, Gretch says the key factor moving forward will be defense. “Kahit maganda offense ng kalaban, kapag napipigilan namin mga attack nila, makikita mong bababa ‘yung kumpiyansa nila,” she says.

“Kailangan matapang, at kailangan smart maglaro,” the veteran player adds. “Minsan matatakot kang pumalo nang malakas kasi baka mali, baka mapagalitan ka ni Coach. Pero kailangan namin magtiwala sa sarili namin. Kung mahirap kalaban si Coach, mas mahirap na kalaban ang sarili mo.”

Gretch, who hails from San Jose, Catmon in Cebu, is speaking from years of experience. Having started playing volleyball in grade school, she took part in the Palarong Pambansa all the way until third year high school.

“Hindi ako nahilig sa volleyball noong una,” she admits. “Tatay ko ‘yung naglalaro, tapos kinukuha ko ‘yung mga bola kapalit ng piso. Nagulat na lang ako na pinili ako para sa training. Hindi ko na alam ‘yung mismong moment na nagbago ako. Basta ginawa ko lang nang paulit-ulit hanggang sa minahal ko na.”

Gretch has come a long way. In 2015, the Lady Stags’ star player represented the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games and in a beach volleyball competition in Thailand. But in spite of all her individual achievements, Gretch pins her hopes on the championship that was just out of the Lady Stags’ reach last year.

“Wala akong gustong patunayan,” says Gretch. “Gusto ko lang maglaro at mahawakan ‘yung trophy na dapat kong hawakan.”

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