Ngayon lang ako na-threaten sa pagpasok sa Top 4 -- Gorayeb
Ito lang ‘yung time na nati-threaten ang pagpasok naming sa Top 4. For the last 30-plus years hindi naman kami nawala roon eh. Ang lowest na nakuha ko third place eh -- SSC-R coach Roger Gorayeb
After more than three decades with San Sebastian College both as a player and as a coach, seasoned mentor Roger Gorayeb admits that for the first time he feels threatened by his team’s chances of advancing in the semifinals.
Though his Lady Stags survived their opening day match in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition Thursday with a sweep of Emilio Aguinaldo College, Gorayeb’s 9-woman roster with only eight available players proved to be a difficult challenge even for the seasoned mentor.
“Sa tinagal kong ito, 30-plus years sa NC parang ito na ‘yung pinakamahinang team (na nahawakan ko). Kulang sa tao, hirap talaga ako kasi two years nga na walang recruitment (because of the K to 12 education system),” said the multi-titled mentor after SSC-R’s 25-16, 25-19, 25-16 win over the Lady Generals at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The NCAA implemented a minimum of nine players per team to participate in the tournament.
SSC-R only has eight holdovers from last year’s roster after the departure of three-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones, Kat Villegas and Denice Lim, who migrated in the US, and needed to tap an additional player, a former swimming team member, to meet the requirement.
Out of the eight available players only seven saw action in the Lady Stags’ season debut with Julie Anne Tiangco sitting out to rest her knee injury.
A short rotation is nothing new for Gorayeb but his current situation by far is the most challenging.
“Mayroon na akong naranasan (noon sa Baste), champion pa nga kami eh. Maraming beses simula’t sapul hindi ako nagdodoseng players. Marami na sa akin ang 10. Nagtsa-champion kami na pito lang kami eh,” Gorayeb recalled. “Kaya lang ‘yung pito na ‘yun sobrang lakas na nun.”
But this time it’s different.
Looking at their remaining eight games in the tournament, Gorayeb said that making it to the Final Four could be an uphill climb.
“Ito lang ‘yung time na nati-threaten ang pagpasok naming sa Top 4,” he said. “For the last 30-plus years hindi naman kami nawala roon eh. Ang lowest na nakuha ko third place eh.”
“Eh wala eh. Pero I don’t want to look at it on that perspective na mahina ang player. Kasi marunong naman ‘yang mag-volleyball eh. Kailangan lang talaga isapuso lang nila na kulang kami sa tao, kailangang mag-extra effort ang lahat. Hindi pwedeng ang isa mahina ang loob o natatakot. Ang puhunan lang naman diyan ay tapang eh.”
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