Legendary setter Salak hangs jersey, leaves colorful legacy
Mark Escarlote on Dec 08, 2016 09:54 PM
For me napaka-thankful ko kasi, alam niyo kung bakit? Naabutan ko ang best of both worlds eh, so from the time na 90’s, 80’s then ngayon millenial na -- Tina Salak
RC Cola-Army veteran playmaker Tina Salak set up American import Kierra Holst for a crosscourt hit against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.
The Lady Troopers reinforcement’s attack went wide as Army bowed down to the Cargo Movers in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix battle for third.
That was Salak’s last set as the 40-year old setter gave her final bow to the sport.
“Ito na ang huli,” Salak’s short message after the Lady Troopers’ 13-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 16-18, Thursday night at The Arena in San Juan.
Salak said that she was not expecting anything grand as she silently closed her colorful volleyball career highlighted by countless battles, two UAAP title conquests, three medals in the Southeast Asian Games and six championships combined in the country’s top local leagues and numerous individual awards.
She’s never a fan of fanfare anyway.
“Wala akong expectations kasi, kung ano ‘yung maging result, manalo man o matalo, hindi mo naman mabe-base doon ang pagkatao ko,” she said. “Kung e-exit man ako gusto ko ‘yung walang nakakaalam na walang ganito (interview).”
Considered as the country’s best and most bemedalled setter, Salak played her heart out dishing out 22 excellent sets while adding five points.
Salak made a name back in her college days when she led Far Eastern University to UAAP crowns in 1994 and 1995. She was tapped to join the national team and was a vital cog in the Philippines’ silver medal finish in the 1995 Chiang-Mai SEA Games.
Salak also helped the national team bag bronze medals in the 1997 edition of the biennial meet Jakarta and in the Manila SEA Games in 2005 before the country skipped the next four editions of the regional sports meet.
“For me siguro sa pinagdaanan ko through the years and gusto ko lang is ma-inspire ko ang other teammates ko,” said Salak, who had two titles in the V-League (Season 8 and Season 11 second conferences) and four in the PSL (2013 Inaugural and Grand Prix, 2014 All-Filipino and 2016 Invitational).
From Rhea Dimaculangan to De La Salle’s Kim Fajardo, Salak is considered by new top setters as their role model. A tough act to follow.
But the humble Salak would rather see the younger playmakers carve their own legacy.
“Hindi ko naman sinasabi na gawin nila ang kaya kong gawin pero ang gusto ko is kung ano ang kaya niyo, ilabas niyo,” said Salak. “Ayaw ko ng ganon, ‘yung ako ang magiging basis nila ‘yun ang pinaka-ayaw ko kasi ang gusto ko magkaroon sila ng sarili nilang character dito sa loob ng court, gusto ko magkaroon sila ng sarili nilang pangalan.”
She added that she’s ready to hang her jersey years ago.
“Long overdue na ito actually kaya lang for me kasi nakatali kasi ako sa Army. Alam niyo naman hindi lang naman kami athletes, sundalo rin kami so once na sinabi ni ganito na maglaro ka, maglaro ka,” Salak explained. “Pero pakiusap ko lang din kung sakali man na pilitin nila ako sana maintindihan nila kung ano naman ang gusto ko parang ganoon kasi masyado nang overdue.”
Salak said that her body is already feeling the wear and tear and time already catching up on her.
“Sana maintindihan nila na pagod na pagod na ako, physically hindi ko na kaya minsan, ‘yung ayaw ko na gumising para mag-training, humantong na ako sa ganoon,” she added. “For me napaka-thankful ko kasi, alam niyo kung bakit? Naabutan ko ang best of both worlds eh, so from the time na 90’s, 80’s.”
“Then ngayon millennial na. Very thankful na ako doon, 1995 national team pero nag-start ako junior 1993 high school ako, 15-years old,” she continued.
Salak will stay with Army until next year before finally retiring from the armed forces by 2018.
“Ang Army naman hindi ako pinapabayaan, ‘yun ang pinakamagandang nangyari sa buhay ko,” Salak said. “Hindi ko alam kung paano ko i-express kaya hanggang ngayon nandito ako para sa kanila.”
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