Gretchel Soltones: A Daughter's Search
Mark Escarlote on May 19, 2015 06:34 PM
“Wala po (kaming communication). Actually kaya nga ako nag-Manila para mapatunayan kay Mama na kaya kong mag-isa and gusto ko rin siyang makausap.” --- Gretchel Soltones
More than getting the natural high of competing with the best volleyball players in the country, of winning titles and accolades or being adored by thousands of fans, the reason why Gretchel Soltones pursued the sport is deeper, more personal and intimate.
She believes that through playing volleyball maybe, just maybe she will have all the answers to questions she wanted to ask ever since her parents separated.
Soltones was raised and molded into what she is now by her father.
“Si Papa (Marvin) at si Mama (Marilyn) officially separated sila noong incoming Grade 3 ako,” said the San Sebastian star who won the NCAA’s Most Valuable Player this season when ABS-CBN Sports caught up on her in one of the Southeast Asian Games-bound national women’s team practice at the Blue Eagle gym.
From being a child coming from a broken family in a quaint fishing village in Catmon, Cebu, Soltones is already making noise in the Big City playing alongside volleyball household name Alyssa Valdez.
Her biggest break was donning the national color in the seventh place national squad that participated in the Asian U-23 women’s volleyball championship.
She is also set to play in the Singapore SEA Games.
With her getting exposure on national TV, dailies and on social media, Soltones hopes that her mother will make the first move to approach her.
“Wala po (kaming communication). Actually kaya nga ako nag-Manila para mapatunayan kay Mama na kaya kong mag-isa and gusto ko rin siyang makausap,” said the incoming fourth year business management student.
Asked if she has at least a lead to the whereabouts of her mother, she said she is clueless.
“Actually hindi ko po alam. Ayoko pong manawagan kasi gusto ko siya ang lumapit sa akin,” added the player who started playing volleyball during her grade school years.
Soltones continued that she knew her mom can see her on TV and all she wanted is for her mother to approach her.
“May fan nga na gustong tumulong sa akin pero ewan ko kung nasaan siya ngayon kasi baka busy din siya e,” Soltones further revealed.
Soltones is the only child before her parents separated, but said that she heard that she has siblings from her mother’s new family.
“Ako lang, pero may kapatid daw ako sa Mommy ko sa iba, sabi daw,” she continued with her story.
Without a partner, Soltones admires her father for raising her by himself, engaging in two jobs to make both ends meet.
“Security guard ng SMART tower,” pertaining to her father’s bread and butter. “Yung signal ng SMART sa Cebu pero at the same time fisherman siya. ‘Yun ang bumubuhay sa amin yung pagiging security guard niya and pagiging mangingisda niya.”
She further revealed that her interest with volleyball is actually an influence from her dad.
“Siya yung nag-push sa akin sa volleyball,” said Soltones. “Si Papa kas naglalaro po siya sa barangay lang namin and siya din yung parang head (organizer), yung parang sa mga program sa barangay. Siya ang nago-organize ng pa-volleyball sa barangay namin.”
Her interest to the sport grew and she started joining sports meets
“Simula Grade 5 nagpa-Palaro na po ako then sunud-sunod na hanggang third year high school (Pajo National High School in Lapu-Lapu City),” Soltones said.
Playing in the annual Palaro was pivotal to her career as she caught the eye of the then scouting for talent San Sebastian coach Roger Gorayeb.
“Sa Palarong Pambansa po nakikita na ako ni coach noong first year high school,” she said.
From there she was tapped to become a varsity for the Recto-based school playing both in indoor and beach volleyball teams.
Her hard work and perseverance were rewarded with inclusions in two national teams.
All of these she said is because of the trust given to her by her father and Gorayeb – her second dad.
“Siya lang ang nagpupursige sa kung ano ako ngayon at saka si coach. Siya lang po ang nagtityaga sa akin,” Soltones said.
Asked if what she wanted to pursue in the future, she gamely answered: “Depende po kasi di ba ngayon po nag-boom na ang volleyball so siguro may kukuhang company (sa akin) na may volleyball (team) din sana.”
As for the personal question about what she feels about her mom, she just quietly smiled.
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