When will RAD be fit & who will be the FIVB WCWC imports?

Tuesday, 02 Aug 2016
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Rachel Anne Daquis is out injured but when will she be back?

Every week, we get a lot of letters from fans asking about their favorite volleyball players. Some of those letters landed on our inbox, some did not. So one day, we opened our spam folder and found a boatload of unread letters. Here are some of the questions we recovered from the spam.

Hi sir, the RC Cola-Army and F2 Logistics rivalry is definitely heating up. How would assess their respective team captains, Cha Cruz and Jovelyn Gonzaga, and who do you think has an edge if these two teams will clash again in the finals? Thanks and more power.

Dothy Regala

You’re absolutely correct; the battle between RC Cola-Army and F2 Logistics is boiling into an all-out war in the ongoing Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference.

Not only they play an exciting brand of volleyball, but they also have contradicting style – F2 Logistics with its high-octane set plays and RC Cola-Army with its deliberate, methodical offensive setups.

While the Cargo Movers take advantage of their youth; the Lady Troopers make a living out of their veteran experience. As I’ve said before, they are like the Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan and the Los Angeles Lakers of Magic Johnson in the 1991 NBA Finals. They are the north and the south; the black and the white; the yin and the yang of Philippine volleyball without losing respect and mutual admiration on each other.

And that what makes this looming rivalry very exciting.

But behind these super teams are two skippers who share similar attitude on the court: Cruz of F2 Logistics and Gonzaga of RC Cola-Army.

While Cruz doesn’t have to carry the bulk of the offensive chore in this very well-fluid, team-oriented offensive setup employed by multi-titled coach Ramil de Jesus, she still does those little things that make them successful – she digs, passes, hustles and unleashes booming kills when needed.

More than that, she provides tons of leadership and serves as the glue girl inside the locker room. The stats sheet may not reflect it, but Cruz is living up to her moniker as “Miss Everything” for F2 Logistics. She remains solid than ever.

On the same note, Gonzaga is also the engine that keeps the Lady Troopers going.

In fact, when top gun Rachel Anne Daquis went down during their second-round match against Foton at La Salle Lipa Sentrum, it was Gonzaga who picked up the cudgels and posted eye-popping numbers of 15 kills, seven blocks and seven digs for a total of 22 points. They may have lost the match, but Gonzaga gave fans a preview of what she can do, of how reliable she can be.

So yes, while F2 Logistics surrendered the top spot of the semis to Foton and RC Cola-Army finished the second round without a single win, we still expect these two titans to meet again in the finals.

After all, these two teams have the most fluid chemistry and their players are the league’s best when it comes to performing in games where the stakes are high.

Unfortunately, we can’t really predict who has the edge as both teams are equally good despite their contradicting styles.

How’s Rachel Anne Daquis and what are the chances for her to return?

Mike

Thanks for asking, Mike.

Daquis suffered a torn plantar aponeurosis in the first set of their match against Foton last week at the La Salle Lipa Sentrum in Lipa City.

To make it simple, the plantar aponeurosis is a thick connective tissue that supports the arch of the bottom of the foot. It is the tissue that runs from the heel bone up to the bone between each toe and the bones on the mid-foot.

Tearing it up doesn’t only cause severe pain, but the patient also cannot put pressure on it, making it extremely difficult to do strenuous activities like, yes, playing volleyball.

But Daquis is such a tough nut.

She ‘s been to numerous local and international battles and will never let injury get in her way.

Last Monday, she got the result of her MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) from the clinic of noted sports medicine specialist Dr. Isagani Leal of the Center of Musculoskeletal Science Asia and it yielded just a partial tear, making it possible to return to the court.

Daquis said the pain is gone and she is now able to tip her toes.

But she still needs to undergo a series of therapy to regain her strength. At any rate, we expect her to be on the court on Thursday for a very crucial semifinal game against Foton at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center in Malolos, Bulacan.

She may not be in hundred percent, but her presence — and ability to play through adversity — will be enough to motivate her teammates and advance to the finals.

BREAKING: Daquis was ruled out to compete in their semis match against Foton this Thursday.

Although she knows that the stakes are high and her offensive production will be badly missed, her coaches and the team physician decided to give her a rest to heal her torn muscle while undergoing therapy.

However, expect her to be back stronger, better for the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in September and the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in October.

The Magnificent 7 is already complete. Now, we have to search for imports. What kind of imports do we actually need?

Shane

Yes, we already have the seven local players and now we are on the hunt for foreign players who can help us in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena from Oct. 18 to 23.

The local organizer in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) already has a list of prospects ranging from Italian, Brazilian, Japanese and Korean standouts. The names look promising, but their respective prices are not. Preliminary negotiations are now ongoing, but it will be in full swing after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics later this month.

However, from where we stand, I think we need to fill up three positions with prolific foreign players: setter, open spiker and middle blocker.

Remember that our entries for these positions are three of the youngest, and promising, players in the country today: 22-year old Kim Fajardo, 21-year old Frances Molina, 20-year old Jaja Santiago and 22-year old Mika Reyes. So if we tap foreign players who play, and mastered, their respective positions, we can put our young players under their wings and absorb their drills, techniques and technical know-how during the course of the training and the week-long volley festival.

It’s a pretty ambitious goal, but every much worth it, especially if we are thinking of investing on these young players and making them our torchbearers in future international tournaments such as the Asian Games in 2018, the SEA Games in 2019 and, if fortunate, the Olympics in 2024.

Any chances for Coach RDJ to coach our team in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship?

@unnoticedby via Twitter

Like all other coaches, Ramil de Jesus of F2 Logistics stands a very good chance of calling the shots for our team in the prestigious FIVB Women’s Club World Championship.

We have to understand that de Jesus is no ordinary mentor.

He is a hard-nosed drillmaster who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty just to squeeze out the best from his team. The mom of Mika Reyes told us during an interview that de Jesus’ drills and training regimen are so difficult that landing on his starting unit is already considered as a major achievement, something that you can narrate to your children in the years to come.

That’s why if you will notice, players from his college team – La Salle – doesn’t mind winning or losing any individual award at the end of the season. They don’t mind being named as Best Attacker, Best Blocker or Best Setter because for them there’s only one ultimate award: The UAAP women’s volleyball title.

At the end of their respective playing careers, they will look back and smile that they are proud to have played – and survived – Ramil de Jesus and his countless one-man drill and other kind of suicides. A former player even said that he is proud to call herself as one of “Ramil’s babies” because he touched her life and brought out the best in her.

And that’s what we exactly need.

We need a mentor who can make an impact on these seven young players, not only on the court, but off the court as well.

We need a mentor who can control these young players and has the balls to say that they haven’t achieved anything yet.

While de Jesus seems like a perfect mentor, it is still in the hands of the PSL management to pick the rightful coach.

We have to understand that training and development director Sammy Acaylar of Cignal is also very much qualified as he is the most seasoned, most experienced among the current batch of PSL coaches.

He is part of the coaching staff of Russian coach Stanislav Lyugaylo when the country won the gold medal in the 1993 Southeast Asian Games. Then, together with former UST coach Emil Lontoc, he continued the winning tradition and steered the Nationals to a silver medal in the 1995 SEA Games, the tournament where de Jesus served as a young coaching volunteer in a training in Osaka, Japan.

Although Cignal finished below expectation in the PSL All-Filipino Conference, we still can’t discount the fact that Acaylar is one of the coaches responsible for bringing the SEA Games glory back to the country. His previous achievement in the international arena should not be overshadowed by this very tiny development in the club rank.

George Pascua of Petron, Nene Chavez of Standard Insurance-Navy, Francis Vicete and Rosemarie Prochina of Generika and, to some extent, Kungfu Reyes of RC Cola-Army are also all capable of calling the shots due to their previous experience in the national team program.

So yes, de Jesus has a good chance.

But still, it’s anybody’s ballgame.

Are the members of the Magnificent 7 already assured of being part of the SEA Games team? Who has the authority of organizing the team?

@itsanyasofia via Twitter

Thanks for asking.

Nope, the Magnificent 7 was assembled only to compete in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in Manila on Oct. 18. There, they will compete with seven foreign players against the world’s best club players from Brazil, Japan, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland and Thailand.

It’s really a tournament every single volleyball player has been dreaming of.

Aside from getting a chance to display their talent, but they will also get exposed to a world-class training, world-class competition they never had in their entire life.

After the tournament, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis will not longer just be the wing spikers for RC Cola-Army, but will be tagged as world-class players similar to Gabe Norwood and Marc Pingris when they played for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup in Spain in 2014. Same goes for Mika and Jen Reyes, Kim Fajardo and Jaja Santiago, who will be on the radar of foreign scouts looking to tap young talents from Asia.

So yes, competing in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship is truly an honor.

However, it doesn’t really mean that they will gain an automatic slot in the team headed for the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur next year.

Although they already have a huge advantage over other players, it’s still the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. which has the final say on the composition of the team. They still have to join the tryout and prove their worth against other young players.

But, as we’ve said, the advantage is already there. These players already competed against the Pleumjits, the Gabbis, the Larsons of the world. All LVPI has to do is to pick them and turn their valuable experience into a major asset against Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam in the SEA Games.