Gorayeb braces for all-out war vs Manganang, Indons
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 09, 2015 05:31 PM
You may not see it because of my physical qualities, but I feel that I am a woman --- Indonesian Aprilia Manganang
SINGAPORE -- Roger Gorayeb was busy buying some cute little ref magnets outside a very busy OCBC Arena Tuesday, a day before his women's volleyball team wades into battle to mark its formal return to the Southeast Asian Games after a decade of absence.
He was holding at least six ref magnets bearing the face of the Games' official mascot, probably just enough to give to his family and loved ones back home.
"Medyo magiging busy na kasi kami bukas eh," he said as a bunch of sportswriters approached him. "Baka mawalan na kami ng oras kaya ngayon pa lang, nagtitingin-tingin na kami ng mga souvenirs na pwede namin iuwi sa pamilya."
True enough, the next few days will be very busy for the grizzled Filipino mentor.
And there's one player that seems to be giving him some sleepless nights since they arrived in this wealthy city-state few days ago.
Her name is Aprilia Santini Manganang of Indonesia.
A 23-year old spiker from North Sulawesi, Manganang was given the green light to compete pending the result of herÂ gender test, which became the subject of controversy after the Philippines filed a formal protest before SEA Games organizers.
In an online report written in Bahasa, it states that Manganang's parents, Zambrut Manganang and Suryati Lano Bori, were poor and she tried to escape poverty by playing basketball. Then, she shifted to volleyball for economic reasons.
"I play volleyball in village tournaments to bring money for my family," she said, adding that the first payment she got from playing in a village tournament was a pack of boiled noodles and eggs.
Now, she's playing for Jakarta Electric PLN in the Indonesian Proliga where she is receiving a pay that is quite better than what she got few years back.
"You may not see it because of my physical qualities, but I feel that I am a woman," said Manganang, who added that the daughter of her team owner, Heri Hermagawan, paid for her test which determined the status of her sex as a female.
"At the beginning of 2015 Proliga starts, has been delivered by the Sports Committee that April is female. There is a new doctor, too, " Hermagawan said.
Manganang will be leading an Indonesian team against the Filipinos, who are known for their deadly brew of beauty and power.
That's why Gorayeb is quite concerned.
"Kapag nakita mo, lalaking-lalaki talaga sya. Hindi namin alam kung papano sya naging babae," Gorayeb said. "Napakalakas nya. Para kang naglagay ng lalaki sa laro ng mga babae. She will surely dominate."
"Pero okay lang. Lalaban pa din kami. Kailangan lang isipan ng magandang strategy kung papano ma-counter ang power nya."
Gorayeb finally paid for all the ref magnets he bought. Then, he disappeared into a thick crowd, probably to go to the drawing board and map out his strategies for the biggest battles of his life against Manganang and the Indonesians.