PLDT Home Ultera coach Roger Gorayeb yesterday said their Shakey’s V-League triumph serves as a big morale boost for the national team competing for the first time in 10 years in the
SEA Games beginning June 10.
Gorayeb is tasked to handle the Nationals, bannered by his PLDT stalwarts – Valdez, Santiago, Gretchel Soltones and Denden Lazaro – and Army’s talented troika of Jovelyn Gonzaga, Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Rachel Ann Daquis.
Other members of the squad are Air Force’s Rhea Dimaculangan and Maika Ortiz, Ateneo’s Jia Morado and Bea de Leon and Meralco’s Aby Marano.
Cagayan Valley’s Aiza Maizo-Pontillas is a reserve and an assistant coach while Ricky Palou is the team manager.
“Somehow it gives us something to feel good about and at the same time we feel a sense of relief since we can now focus 100 percent in training for the SEA Games,” said Gorayeb.
Meanwhile, after edging Army to annex its first Shakey’s V-League crown, PLDT Home Ultera can’t wait to take on another challenge and contend for another championship in the Reinforced Conference later this year.
“Hopefully, we can do it again,” said Gorayeb moments after the Ultra Fast Lady Hitters downed the Lady Troopers, 25-22, 18-25, 24-26, 28-26, 15-13, in Sunday’s Game Three at The Arena in San Juan City.
“Teams are allowed to field in a maximum of two imports so we expect a different ballgame,” he added.
Gorayeb is also hoping to keep his current stellar roster headed by reigning conference MVP Alyssa Valdez and Finals MVP Jaja Santiago.
“For now, we don’t know what will happen to my players. But If you’re going to ask me, I want to keep them all for the next conference,” said Gorayeb.
The recent Shakey’s V-League finals drew an overflow crowd of 5,425 with thousands more watched the classic duel on tv, underlining the sport’s tremendous popularity the last few years.