PVL: Fit again Soltones stepping up for High Flyers
Mark Escarlote on Jul 04, 2018 06:56 PM
Nuíng elims, Iíve been through a lot kasi as you can see naman di ako pinapasok masyado ni coach Roger. Sabi naman ni coach Roger maibabalik ko rin to Ďwag ko lang pabayaan sarili ko since I stopped (playing volleyball) for six months -- Grethcel Soltones
Grethcel Soltones faced a lot of adversity the past few months, struggling to get back on the same physical condition she had last year.
The past six months proved to be a challenge for the former San Sebastian College standout.
It didn’t help that she nursed a couple of injuries and was out of shape after a long layoff from volleyball.
Playing under the PayMaya banner in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference, Soltones, last year’s Open Conference Finals Most Valuable Player while donning the BaliPure jersey, saw limited action in the preliminary round.
This was due to the fact, that head coach Roger Gorayeb wanted her to get back in top form.
Soltones’ patience and trust to the wisdom of his long-time mentor paid off and the fit again hitter is no back in her usual dangerous self.
“Nu’ng elims, I’ve been through a lot kasi as you can see naman di ako pinapasok masyado ni coach Roger,” said Soltones. “Sabi naman ni coach Roger maibabalik ko rin to ‘wag ko lang pabayaan sarili ko since I stopped (playing volleyball) for six months.”
She returned Gorayeb’s faith in her with an inspiring game that kept PayMaya in the thick of the battle for the Finals spot.
Soltones finished with 22 points and added 29 excellent receptions and 15 digs in the High Flyers’ 28-26, 25-16, 25-27, 25-27, 15-12, victory Wednesday over BanKo that forced a rubber match best-of-three semifinals series.
“Bumabalik na. Sa akin ngayon siguro nasa 90% na si Grethcel. Kasi kung natatandaan niyo noong elimination, hindi ko siya ginagamit eh. Kasi may mga injury-injury siyang nararamdaman,” said Gorayeb. “So unti-unti kong binalik, hanggang sa ginawa kong utility, taga-receive lang, hanggang sa ngayon na and'yan na siya, siya na ang ka-diagonal ni Tess (Rountree).”
Soltones provided the extra firepower and help needed by Americans Rountree and Shelby Sullivan from the locals.
“So masaya ako kasi sa parte ko bilang coach, mas nakaka-diskarte ako sa tao pagka may dalawang opener kang matibay,” added the multi-titled mentor. “Kaya natutuwa naman ako na si Gretchel, bumabalik na 'yung dati niyang laro. Pero ako, alam ko na meron pang ibubuga 'yung bata eh. Kailangan lang na tuloy-tuloy lang.”
Soltones was extra motivated and determined to win the match in the deciding fifth set as she put matters in her own hands in the crucial stretch scoring timely hits including the match-clinching down the line kill.
“Oo kasi gusto ko pa mag third game and sabi ko sa sarili ko ang dami na nating napagdaanan dito pa ba tayo susuko?” she said. “Ang daming issue ngayon di ba so sinet aside muna namin yun and sinabi ko sa teammates ko na laging sinasabi ni coach Roger na control your emotions and focus sa lahat ng gagawin.”
Game 3 of the series is on Friday while the start of the best-of-three Finals is on Sunday at the MOA Arena.
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