Baguio Summer Spikers play for the love of volleyball

Danny Santillan on Jun 27, 2016 02:16 PM
Baguio Summer Spikers play for the love of volleyball
Volleyball never stops for Team Baguio. (Photo courtesy of Nante Azures)

The pretty Baguio Summer Spikers are back for the 13th season of Shakey’s V-League.  If they are saying they are again playing for the love of volleyball, better believe them. So don’t raise your eyebrows yet; hear out their story first.    

They travel on two rented vans back and forth twice a week to play two games in the league, leaving Baguio City at 10:30 p.m. and reaching Manila around 3 a.m. the next day. Then they sleep the rest of the night away at a teammate’s sister’s house in Tandang Sora, drive off an hour or two after lunch to Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan, play their 4 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. match and then proceed back directly to Baguio afterward if it’s a Wednesday.     

On weekdays, nine of the Summer Spikers go to university while the rest, including the four members of the coaching staff, have to earn a living for themselves or for their families. In their free time in the mountain city, they still have to solicit donations to bankroll their twice-a-week participation in the V-League.

Yes, they do that as well because really and truly, they love the sport apart from the fact that the older members of the team want the younger ones to get the needed exposure to excel so that they can come back to the league stronger and more competitive next time.

It's all because they are  genuinely passionate about playing volleyball.

Assistant coach Jhiesel Agudia said donations coming their way, including the cash help from the city government of Baguio, go into a common fund upon which expenses for the rent of the two vans, amounting to P14,000 per trip, and other sundry items such as food are drawn.

During the course of their participation in the V-League, their third this year since 2014, they’d run into generous Manila folk  touched by their story and who share their love of the sport.     

Stunning beauty Anna Colleen Rossi, 20, and a biology graduate from St. Louis University, still recalls with much fondness and gratitude how former volleyball coach Louis Gepuela allowed them free use of his newly-purchased condo then when her school competed in the V-League Season 11-Collegiate Conference.

“Not only did Mr. Louis let us stay in his condo two years ago; he also bought us groceries and toiletries,” she said.

Rossi, descended from an Italian grandfather, and team captain Krissian Tsuchiya, 26, a psychologist, are among eight from Team Baguio returning from last season’s Open Conference either as player or member of the coaching staff. Tsuchiya and Rossi are returning as players along with Marian Torres and Rochelle Degay. Both 18, Mary Ann Atuban, a University of Baguio business administration freshman, and Raynae Yannah Arances, another freshman from the University of the Cordilleras, are the youngest players.      

The other half of these returnees are sitting on the bench as members of the coaching staff in line with the team’s budgetary measures. Head coach is Clarissa Tolentino, who teaches at UC; Agudia, a city government employee, is assistant coach. Trainers are Roxanne Almonte, also a UC teacher, and Cindy Benitez, a teller at the Baguio-Benguet Electric Cooperative.      

“Travelling to and from Baguio is physically draining,” says Tolentino. “But we don’t mind that and the other sacrifices we have to make just to be able to compete. We enjoy playing and we will continue doing everything to keep on playing for as long as we are able.”      

Making up the rest of the team are Aloise Marie Costales, Belle Feriese Belsa, Cherry Atuban, Cielo Marcelle Abella, Shirley Balantac, Marian Fleurizze Torres, Carmela Care Dicksen, Lyka Mae Reyes, and Nicole Brielle Guyguyon. Listed as manager is Gaudencio Gonzales.


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