IEM: Confidently competitive with a heart

ABS-CBN Sports on May 03, 2017 02:30 PM
IEM: Confidently competitive with a heart
Instituto Estetico Manila is a team best described as 'confidently competitive with a heart.'

That’s how Dr. Reyvic Cerilles describes Instituto Estetico Manila now, the team he founded initially to provide a continuing outlet to play for his volleyball-loving friends, former university teammates, and other athletes who have reached the end of their collegiate playing years.   

But the famous cosmetic surgeon’s perspective took a complete turnaround when a few years ago, the Phoenix Volley Masters, a closely-knit family on and off the court, captured the championship the first and only time the former V-League had put up a men’s division.

Winning the thrilling finals at the expense of another ball club composed of similarly passionate volleyball fanatics organized by all-around sportsman and now Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.   

Since then, the Volley Masters, while continuing to enjoy the sport of their lives, have been working doubly hard to be as title worthy as any contenders in every tournament they take part in.     

And Dr. Cerilles’ partnership with mathematician-coach Jun Balubar sees to that.     

Because they practice year round before and after a tournament as the major component of their bonding time, the Volley Masters are supremely fit and ready to compete for a title anytime. They don’t wait for invitations to out-of-town competitions, however small; they seek them out and join them to continuously sharpen their spurs. One such recent tourney nearly brought them to the path of the typhoon that cut a wide swath of destruction across Cagayan de Oro City.

Too, they had already played a few times abroad in ASEAN club contests, with Dr. Cerilles singlehandedly footing the bill as always.     

Over the years, IEM has kept and bankrolled teams in several age brackets. Its A-list players may come and go to try playing for other teams in major tournaments such as the ongoing Premier Volleyball League, but at any given time, it has enough core players left to carry its banner in the toughest of tournaments.     

“We will always be confidently competitive with a heart,” says Dr. Cerilles, a former UP Maroon, referring to both his team’s readiness to compete for a title and IEM’s outreach programs, which include providing full scholarships to indigent and deserving IEM members, free nose, ear and throat consultations for the Volley Masters, and discounted rates for any volleyball player seeking cosmetic treatment in his Makati office at Paseo de Magallanes.

The tie that binds the Volley Masters with each other is so strong that when one is in distress, the others swoop down on him to lend a hand unbidden. They are more than friends among themselves; they are family.

“We may be family off the court,” says coach Balubar, “but it is not enough to earn a Volley Master playing time. He has to work for it and prove himself that he merits playing time. Even Dr. Reyvic, our boss and manager, at one time had to earn it.”     

Problem is, according to coach Balubar, strategist of the NCBA’s dynastic domination of the UCLAA and QCCAA meets, Cerilles would rather give way to the other setter on the team.

“For PVL, I am taking a strong stand –that Dr. Reyvic play whenever I need him on the court,” he said.    

Both Balubar and Cerilles are proud of the immense progress of five-year IEM player Edward Arroyo, who played throughout their opening five-set PVL game against Philippine Army.

Until the PVL, the six-foot-two Arroyo, 36, and clinic manager of IEM, says he was mostly a bench warmer who would get at most three minutes on the few times that he was sent to the court. “I keep practicing harder and harder; as much as possible I don’t miss a training session. Of course I was surprised when coach Jun made me a member of the first team in our first Premier Volleyball League game.”    

“Edward’s time has come, thanks to his perseverance and determination,” says Balubar.   

IEM is parading three rookies on its current roster – opposite spiker Bobby Gatdula formerly of Letran, wing attacker Joeward Presnede, and middle blocker Patty Jamiri.

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