Battle has just begun for PSL stars

Rebisco-PSL Manila will retreat back home full of scars and bruises after a furious battle in the Asian Women’s Club Championship in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan.

It was such a very dangerous adventure.

The PSL stars shut down their campaign at the bottom of the tournament without a single win in six games. Their last match – the classification battle for 7th to 8th places against Vietin bank of Southeast Asian rival Vietnam – also ended in disaster as they bombed out in straight sets.

Still, these brave Filipinas will come home to a hero’s welcome.

They have nothing to be ashamed of.

They traveled for 32 back-breaking hours slinging from Asia to Europe back to Asia just to be battered, dominated and flattened by teams whose volleyball technology is light years away from them.

They dedicated two weeks of their life just to survey the field, just to check where they are right now against the supremos of Asian volleyball.

China and Japan, two countries that represented Asia in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, hammered them with a quick merciless kill. Iran, a veteran team powered by its national team members, demolished them in straight sets as well while Vietnam made a solid stand and crushed them twice.

The only bright spot was their performance against Thailand.

The Thais, the 12-time SEA Games champion, took them for granted in the first two sets before Aby Marano, Jaja Santiago and Jovelyn Gonzaga re-introduced themselves and sent a strong message that they also deserve a serious fight.

After that emphatic third set win, the Filipinos were cruising in the fourth set, 14-9, until the Thai mentor pressed the panic button and inserted his stars, grizzled veteran campaigner Pleumjit Thinkaow and fellow national team member Soraya Phomla, to turn on the water cannon and put away this burning Filipino uprising.

Yes, the Filipinos lost.

But they didn’t go down without putting up a fight.

The skills, the techniques and the composure may not yet be there; but the heart, the hunger, the desire and the fire in their hearts were already burning wildly inside.

They showed that if they will be equipped with enough weapons, enough ammos and preparation, they can launch a massive revolution and become queens of the region once more.

This war isn’t the real battle.

This is just a warm-up, an appetizer for the tough task ahead.

On Saturday, these brave Filipinas will arrive home full of scars and bruises, but with joy in their hearts, knowing that they gained the experience and the high-level of competition they badly need for the real war.

This setback isn’t the end.

This is just the start of greater things to come.

The real battle has just begun.