Nationals develop discipline, chemistry in SoKor training

Mark Escarlote on Jul 25, 2017 11:20 AM
Nationals develop discipline, chemistry in SoKor training
BAND OF BROTHERS -- Chemistry, mutual respect and discipline inside as well as outside of the court is developed among the members of the PHI national men's volleyball team.

SUWON CITY, South Korea --- The cafeteria inside the Sungkyunkwan University dormitory here was filled with chatter and laughter Sunday evening as the men’s national team lined up for their dinner.

One by one, the players carrying their treys noisily walked to their tables after picking their meal.

“Ssshhh!” assistant coach Macky Carino hissed with his eyes piercing like a dagger looking at the ever-playful group of Mark Alfarara, Geuel Asia, Bryan Bagunas and John Carascal.

Everyone immediately lowered down their voices, sat straight and held back their emotions and excitement just hours after watching the 2017 Women’s Grand Prix and getting a group picture with Korea’s superstar volleybelle Kim Yeun Koung.

On the team official’s table, therapist Randel Lapuz gave in to the temptation of sipping a little of his piping-hot miso soup.

“Sumusubo ka na, ‘di pa tayo kumpleto at ‘di pa nagdadasal,” assistant coach Michael Santos, son of legendary Far Eastern University coach Kid Santos, snapped at his roommate.

Nobody is allowed to touch the sumptuous dinner, served by the cheerful and very welcoming cafeteria staff of the university’s dorm, right in front of them until veteran Herschel Ramos and the very quiet libero Jack Kalingking got their meal and settled at their seats.

“Pumunta tayo rito ng kumpleto, magti-training ng kumpleto at kakain tayo ng kumpleto,” head coach Sammy Acaylar told his wards including his coaching staff. “Responsibility nyo ang isa’t isa. Team tayo dito. Lahat ng ginagawa ninyo dapat para sa team.”

Ramos and Kalingking apologized to their teammates and were obviously embarrassed after moving a tad slower to go down from their room at the fifth floor of the building. After all, it was their second time to be late that day. 

Aside from whipping the men’s team into fighting form, Acaylar and his coaching staff are strictly implementing discipline while building camaraderie among their players as they gear up for the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 19 to 31.

The PHI is bracketed with Indonesia, Vietnam and East Timor in the opening stage of the biennial meet.


Cellphone curfew

Before training and at night before they hit the sack, Santos, with a sack bag on hand, collects the cellphones of the players.

The players must turn off their phones or risk having the whole bag of the team’s collected phones thrown out of the window.

Santos returns their phones only after training.

“’Yung focus natin kasi dito ay training, ibabalik naman ang phone sa kanila after ng ensayo,” Acaylar told ABS-CBN Sports. “Pero sa gabi kinokolekta namin ulit ‘yan kasi sa gabi dapat magpahinga. Eh kung may cellphone sila sa gabi ‘di naman magpapahinga ang mga ‘yan at baka mapuyat pa.”

The coaching staff is lenient with the players in terms of posting on social media.


Getting to know each other

Acaylar mixes his program with physical and mental training as well as building team chemistry off the court.

Veterans and young guns are assigned to share a room but will rotate with their roommates every two days in their 13-day training camp.

“Kailangan ma-develop natin ang bonding natin sa isa’t isa. ‘Yung relationship ninyo as teammates,” said Acaylar, who steered the men’s team to a bronze medal in the country’s last podium finish back in the 1991 Southeast Asian Games.

“Individually malalakas kayo pero ang sistema sa loob ng court iba-iba. Kaya kailangan maintindihan natin ang isa’t isa sa labas ng court pa lang,” he told his players.

The team had an open forum Sunday night after viewing the tapes of their SEA Games opponents. Everybody including the coaching staff had a chance to share their story and background.

Carino also gave the players an activity where they wrote their name, position, role in the team, their goals and aspirations and how to help the squad reach its target of a podium finish in the SEA Games.

“Itatago nyo yan and every night lagi nyo siyang babasahin bago kayo matulog para ma-motivate kayo,” said Carino.


First tune-up match assessment

The coaching staff made their first assessment of the team Monday night after the Nationals dropped a 26-24, 17-25, 22-25, 25-22, 11-15, decision against the tall Korean U-19 team.

Korean coach Park Wongil commended the Filipinos’ combination plays but also pointed out the team’s weaknesses and areas they need to improve on.

Acaylar explained to the team that even Korean coach saw their lapses on blocking, reception and pattern defense.

But the national team mentor stressed one lingering malady of Pinoy athletes that they must address.

“Ito ang napapansin ko lang talaga na sakit natin in any sport, malakas tayo at nag-e-enjoy kapag nakakalamang pero nagpa-panic na kapag nahahabol at nalalamangan,” he said while telling his players to adapt the mentality of their young Korean opponents.

The Koreans even after trailing several times in their tune-up match kept their composure and were not overwhelmed by their emotions and adrenaline. A contrast to the PHI squad, which displayed energy when they were up but slowly faded when the Koreans mounted a rally to pull away especially in the fifth set.

“Ang ganda ng laro, ng energy and emotions ng mga players kapag lamang tayo pero once na nakalamang ang kalaban at nakalayo ng konti nagi-stop sila. Nobody inside the court ang nagli-lead ng team, na nagsasabi na, “Oy, wake up!” Di tulad nila (Koreans),” Acaylar told his wards. “Nagpa-panic kayo. ‘Yun ang gusto kong mabago. I-control nyo ang emotion ninyo. Siyempre pagdating ng laro kapag masyado kang gustong manalo ang tendency nagkakamali ka, nagkakamali ka. Ang patience ninyo masyadong maiksi.”

“They are good. Gusto ko yung laro nila kaya nga lang ang gusto kong mangyari ay mawala ang pagpa-panic nila at maipasok nila ang positive (enery sa loob) and yung countdown (timing sa atake at block). Kontrolado nila dapat,” he added.

Day 3 of the training camp Tuesday started with weights training and service reception drills at 10:00 a.m. at the SKK U gym before the Nationals second tune-up match against a more experienced Korean Universiade national team.        



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