As De La Salle University was clashing with archrival Ateneo de Manila in the 79th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena, one of its former stars was also locked in her own battle as she was busy plotting a new chapter in her stellar playing career.
Mika Reyes finally made her debut for Petron when it dominated Sta. Lucia in the opening-day Salvo of the Belo-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
It was such an unfamiliar territory for Reyes.
Donning blue jersey for the first time since playing for St. Scholastica’s College in high school, Reyes brushed the rust off her pistol as she spearheaded the Blaze Spikers’ well-balanced offensive attack to pull off an easy 25-29, 25-29, 25-21 victory.
The comely middle blocker who campaigned in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship last year finished with a team-high nine points together with another fresh recruit in Carmela Tunay while Ces Molina and Mina Aganon chipped in eight and seven markers, respectively.
Despite such a masterful performance, Reyes humbly deflected the credit, saying that she still remains a work in progress as she’s still trying to fit into a new system outside that of La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus.
[quote]“Okay naman. Ang dami pa din dapat i-adjust.”[/quote]
Room for improvement
Reyes was the product of Petron’s massive recruitment coup in the off-season, or few weeks after swallowing a bitter setback to Foton in the finals of the PSL Grand Prix last December.
No less than San Miguel Corp. (SMC) sports director Alfrancis Chua reached out to her, making sure that no stone will be left unturned in luring probably the biggest, brightest star in the free agent market.
Aside from Reyes, Petron also secured the commitment of veteran setter Rhea Dimaculangan and University of Santo Tomas stars Sisi Rondina and Marivic Meneses.
Another former Tigress in Tunay also joined the fray, but she will campaign only in the season-opening Invitationals before resuming her hosting and modeling career.
Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos expressed satisfaction over the composition of the team, but stressed that they still have a lot to improve, especially in transition and their reaction to the ball.
[quote]“Maganda yung galaw kanina pero marami pa kami kailangan i-improve.”
“Alam naman natin na kailangan ng team natin na mag-contend. Open naman yung mga players at masisipag mag-ensayo.”[/quote]
Reyes added that she’s more than willing to double her effort to help her new team, similar to what she did for F2 Logistics when it won the PSL All-Filipino Conference crown last year.
[quote]“Alam ko naman sa sarili ko na ang dami ko pa din kulang.”
“Kailangan ko pang maka-adjust sa team kasi pare-pareho lang kaming bago inside the court and less than two months pa lang kami magkakasama.”
“This is already a good start.”[/quote]
Yes, the Lady Spikers may have dropped their first encounter with the Lady Eagles this season, but one of their most celebrated alumni made a mark in her first game with her new team.
It was such a great start.
She obviously aced her major first test.