Ateneo superstar Alyssa Valdez is reuniting with former coach Roger Gorayeb as they chase their second championship in the Shakey’s V-League firing off next week with the Open Conference at The Arena in San Juan.
Gorayeb said he is happy that Valdez has decided to join his team, PLDT, in the coming tournament kicking off the country’s premier women’s volley league’s 12th season on April 5.
“She will be a vital part of this PLDT team,” said Gorayeb referring to Valdez, who powered the Lady Eagles to back-to-back UAAP championships, including a historic 16-game sweep this year.
Gorayeb was coach of Ateneo before he resigned and was replaced by Tai Bundit two years ago, when he and Valdez won a Shakey’s V-League title three years ago but lost to the National University Lady Bulldogs the following year.
They are, however, upbeat of their chances this time.
“Hopefully, with her around, we could win another championship just like the old times,” said Gorayeb, who also boasts of the 6-4 spiker/blocker Jaja Santiago of National U.
“Jaja is a key addition to this team,” said Gorayeb, also the current NU mentor and the national under-23 and Southeast Asian Games women’s teams coach.
Joining Valdez and Santiago in the team are Ateneo libero Denden Lazaro along with former teammate Cha Soriano, Ruby de Leon, Suzanne Roces, Gretchel Soltones, Amanda Villanueva, Jem Ferrer and Lizlee Ann Pantone.
Gorayeb said chemistry will not be a problem.
“I see no problem in the chemistry because Ruby (de Leon) and Alyssa know how to play with each other,” he said.
Gorayeb picks Cagayan Valley, last year’s import-laced Open titlist, and Philippine Army, the defending All-Filipino champion, as their toughest rivals for the crown in the league where it all started.
“I see all teams as strong but Cagayan and Army should have the slight edge having the most experienced teams,” he said.
Other teams seeing action in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Accel, are Baguio, Fourbees, Meralco, Navy and Coast Guard.