While the rest of the eight-team field for the 2019 PSL Grand Prix already acquired the services of their chosen imports, the Smart Giga Hitters are yet to meet and train with their reinforcements two weeks before kick off.
This was shared to Volleyverse by Smart’s head coach himself, Roger Gorayeb, Saturday afternoon in response to a query on the latest development regarding his squad.
“Meron kaming imports kaya lang hindi pa dumadating. Hindi ko alam kung bakit. Ayaw ko nang isipin muna. Hinahayaan ko muna ang management mag-asikaso,” Gorayeb said.
“Meron akong pinili (na import) kaso baka mamaya sabihin ko pangalan tapos hindi naman dumating. Wag muna. Pag nandito na lang. ‘Yung kontrata kasi next week pa ise-send,” he added.
With the usual level of skills of the imports flying to Manila for the Grand Prix over the past years, it’s safe to say that the Giga Hitters will have ample time to create good chemistry between the locals and the guest players.
New Giga Hitters
One progress Gorayeb was proud to talk about, though, are his replacements for FEU players Jerrili Malabanan, Celine Domingo, Angel Cayuna, and Czarina Carandang who won’t be seeing action in the Grand Prix due to their commitment to the Lady Tamaraws in the UAAP.
“New players sila Shola Alvarez, Sasa Devanadera, at Vira Guillema,” said the legendary NCAA coach.
“Si Vira Guillema pinapahiram ko kasi kay Ness (Pamilar) ‘yun eh. Bago namatay si Ness, sabi ko hihiramin ko muna ulit tutal Mayo pa sila. Kaso namatay nga,” he added about the deal he made with the late Tacloban Fighting Warays mentor.
Though the Giga Hitters may seem to have bigger losses than gains, Gorayeb insists that the addition of veterans Alvarez, Devanadera and Guillema to the roster is a welcome development because this means better attendance in training.
“Ang naging problema ko kasi roon (2018), ‘yung schedule ng classes kasi puro kami estudyante. Eh ‘yung schedule ng laro doon (PSL) is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. May mga may klase. Minsan nagpa-practice kami walo o siyam lang kami,” the coach admitted.
“Dumating nga kami sa punto na may isang araw dapat na laro na wala akong setter kasi parehas may thesis defense. Nagbigayan na lang,” he added.
Heading into the next round of club volleyball action with a core that includes Jasmine Nabor, Grethcel Soltones, Aiko Urdas, top caliber libero Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone, and the two imports, Gorayeb can’t help but beam, hoping for a better result than their sixth place finish in the All-Filipino Conference.
“Oo naman, confident ako kasi ngayon, unti-unti, mas naku-kumpleto kami ngayon. Hindi na katulad dati. Suma-sampu o mahigit na kami ngayon,” closed the ever-jolly coach.