Prepare for hell -- 1993 SEAG gold medalist Ybanez-Chavez
Mark Escarlote on Jul 14, 2017 05:18 PM
Eh di binalik sa akin ang bola, sa sobrang pagod ko na, nandilim na ang paningin ko hinimatay ako. Pinaamoy lang ako ng ammonia tapos noong nagkamalay ako, training na ulit -- national team assistant coach Nene Ybanez-Chavez (far right)
Players of the Philippine national women’s volleyball team will surely be pushed to their limits when they train in Japan from July 17 to August 2 in preparation for the AVC Asian Women’s Senior Volleyball Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next month.
Talking based on her personal experience, Philippine team assistant coach and 1993 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Nene Ybanez-Chavez recalled the brutal Japan training camp they had back then, a month before the country earned its last podium finish in the biennial meet in Singapore.
“Ang Japanese training, staple sa national team ‘yan,” said Ybanez-Chavez, who claimed the Most Valuable Player award in that SEA Games edition, in a conversation with reporters during the team’s send-off Friday at the Arellano University gym in Taft Avenue.
Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. gave the Pinays a chance to train abroad with the help of Rebisco as the team shifts into full gear before marching into battle in the Asian tilt from August 9 to 17 and the SEA Games on the August 19 to 31.
Looking at the busy schedule of the team which includes a two 3-hour training sessions daily with tune-up games against club and university teams in camps in Okayama City and Osaka, Ybanez-Chavez couldn’t help but reminisce about the training they had that made that 1993 team a legend among volleyball purists.
That team composed of legendary stars Ybanez-Chavez Thelma Barina, Arlene Apostol, Natalie Cruz, Bernadette Burcelis, Mayie Prochina and Len Escollante endured a strict, draining and brute training in Japan to become a gem of a team that shone the brightest in the last of the golden days of Philippine volleyball.
“Ang emphasis ng Japanese training ay discipline,” she said. “Sa amin noon unang-una kailangan mabilis kang kumain, tapos kanya-kanyang ligpit. Kasi ang training naming noon 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon tapos nu’n 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
She shared one unforgettable story in that training camp where she and playmaker Escollante, now a Philippine Canoe-Kayak Federation coach, were involved.
“May training session na ang sabi ng Japanese trainer, ang instructions niya sa setter na si Len Escollante ibigay lahat ng bola sa akin,” said the Generika-Ayala assistant coach.
“Nagtaka ako bakit sa akin lahat ng bola kaya tinanong ko si Len, eh ‘yun daw ang sabi sa kanya nung Hapon,” added Ybanez-Chavez as she was then on the verge of collapsing due to exhaustion. “Kaya ginawa ni Len binigay sa iba. Ayun binatukan siya nung Hapon kasi ‘di sumusunod sa instructions.”
“Eh di binalik sa akin ang bola, sa sobrang pagod ko na, nandilim na ang paningin ko hinimatay ako. Pinaamoy lang ako ng ammonia tapos noong nagkamalay ako, training na ulit.”
Asked if the current national team will be able to endure the same training they had then, she thinks it will be a good challenge.
“Pero sa tingin ko naman makakasabay sila,” she said. “Kapag nandoon na sila sasabay na yan.”
Team captain Mika Reyes spearheads the team together with veterans Jovelyn Gonzaga and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas as well as Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili, Kim Fajardo, Aby Marano, Rhea Dimaculangan, Frances Molina, Gen Casugod, Denden Lazaro, Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago and Maika Ortiz.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles