2019 ASEAN Grand Prix: PHI coach happy with 'replacement duo' Nabor, Soltones

Mark Escarlote on Oct 05, 2019 10:00 PM
PHI coach happy with 'replacement duo' Nabor, Soltones
Replacement players Jasmin Nabor and Grethcel Soltones stepped up when their numbers were called. (Richard Esguerra)

STA. ROSA, Laguna --- National team head coach Shaq Delos Santos was satisfied with replacement players Jasmin Nabor and Grethcel Soltones’ willingness to step up despite a short notice.

Down to only 10 players available on Saturday, spiker Soltones and back-up playmaker Nabor were tapped to play key roles against powerhouse Thailand in the ASEAN Grand Prix second leg at the Sta. Rosa Multi-purpose Gym here.

Although his squad absorbed a straight sets drubbing at the hands of the unbeaten Thais, 12-25, 16-25, 10-25, Delos Santos still praised the PLDT Home Fibr pair for a job well done.  

“Siyempre happy kasi nagde-deliver every time na gagamitin namin sila,” said Delos Santos, whose squad missed the services of Alyssa Valdez, starting setter Jia Morado, Maddie Madayag and Jovelyn Gonzaga because of their club commitments in Iloilo on the same day.

Soltones and Nabor just joined the team last Monday to replace injured Kalei Mau and setter Alohi Robins-Hardy, who had troubles securing a Philippine passport. The two suited up for the Nationals last year in the AVC Asian Cup in Thailand.

“Knowing them naman kasi nakasama na rin naman namin sila sa Thailand, alam na rin nila yung galawan ng team,” said Delos Santos, whose squad slid to a 1-1 slate.

Nabor was given a big challenge as main setter for the Nationals and she tallied 13 excellent sets.

“Para sa akin sobrang laking tulong sa akin ng game kanina,” said Nabor. “Parang ang dami kong natutunan. So, kailangan ko pang mag-aral nang mag-aral, mag-training nang magtraining at saka pag-aralan yung mga play ng kakampi ko.”

Nabor also cherished the rare experience of going up against accomplished veteran setter Pornpun Guedpard and Gullapa Piampomgsan, who combined for 22 excellent sets for Thailand.  

“Sobrang nakaka-amaze kasi sobrang hasa na siya tapos kilalang-kilala na niya yung teammates niya,” said Nabor. “So yun yung kailangan ko matutunan.”

Soltones, on the other hand, contributed not only on offense but also on floor defense against the power-hitting Thais.

The former U-23 team member hammered five points and added 10 digs and nine excellent receptions.

“Thankful ako na binigyan ako ng pagkakataon kung ano yung ipapakita ko at maitutulong sa bansa natin,” said Soltones. “At sana tuloy pa rin ‘yung suporta kahit anong mangyari sa team natin.”

Although the duo might again step back to give their spots back to the usual starters with Valdez, Morado, Madayag and Gonzaga back in the potential silver medal match against Indonesia on Sunday, both Soltones and Nabor knew that they did the team proud.




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