Good start for PSL stars

Tuesday, 05 Sep 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Photo courtesy of SMM Volleyball Facebook Page

The Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Star squad surrendered its first match to Thai powerhouse Bangkok Glass in the 2017 Annual Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Cup Volleyball Tournament Monday in Sisaket, Thailand.

But head coach Shaq Delos Santos saw a lot of positives in the Filipinas’ performance.

Delos Santos, the head coach of reigning PSL All-Filipino Conference champion Petron, said he liked what he saw in their four-set meltdown against the Thais, who paraded a Croatian opposite in Sona Mikyskova for additional firepower.

The only problem, however, is their lack of foreign exposure that doomed their chances in the fourth set where the Thais dominated them, 25-15.

“We can see that the team tried its very best to compete against the Thais. Unfortunately, our lack of enough foreign exposure killed our chances. Bumitaw sila sa dulo.”

Delos Santos, who also mentored University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University to a handful of memorable finishes in the UAAP, added that he’s glad that the PSL is taking the lead in giving local players all the international exposure they can get.

In fact, there are six national team members on the team, including national squad captain Mika Reyes and veterans Aby Marano and Jovelyn Gonzaga, who would greatly benefit in this kind of top-level tournament.

“We need to expose local players to competitions like this. Kailangan masanay sila sa galaw ng mga foreign teams.”

“But so far, so good. I liked what I saw. Lumaban sila at hindi basta-basta nagpatalo. I expect more from them in our next game.”

Strong finish

With the setback, the PSL stars have to overcome Rangsit University on Wednesday to make it to the semifinals.

Rangsit University could be an easy foe as Foton, powered by Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher, dominated it in the Sealect Tuna Invitational Tournament last year.

But Delos Santos doesn’t want to push their luck.

In fact, the entire team trooped to the venue to watch Rangsit University as it battles Bangkok Glass in is opening match.

“We have to be more prepared against Rangsit University in our next game.”

“There would be no easy opponent in this tournament, everybody is tough. So we have to be prepared and give our best.”

Delos Santos said skipper Marano, as well as fellow national team members Rhea Dimaculangan, Aiza-Maizo Pontillas, Frances Molina, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Reyes all, vowed readiness to claim their first victory.

Also on the team are veterans Royse Tubino, Chie Saet, Jheck Dionela, Bang Pineda and young guns MJ Philips and Remy Palma.