Sweet homecoming for Ria

Saturday, 06 Jan 2018
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Photo courtesy of Kath Zamora, Volleyball PH

The wound created by its sorry break-up with long-time coach Francis Vicente has yet to completely heal, but Generika-Ayala is already on the move, luring players who can help it win the title in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix.

One of its top two recruits would be making a grand homecoming – Ria Meneses.

Meneses had a colorful stint with the Lifesavers.

After starring for University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP, Meneses, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker from Bulacan, was part of the celebrated Generika-Ayala squad in 2016.

Her impressive performance and on and off the court great attitude drew the attention of league executives, prompting Petron to offer her a one-year contract.

Meneses joined the Blaze Spikers to join fellow UAAP stars Remy Palma and Mika Reyes in a loaded rotation at the middle, enough to rule the 2017 All-Filipino Conference and emerge as runner-up in the Grand Prix.

But home is where the heart is.

In a stunning move, Meneses packed her bags for Generika-Ayala to be re-united with her former teammates, some of them had already became her close friends.

Generika Drugstore COO Jay Ferrer couldn’t contain his happiness over the return of Meneses.

“Riri (Meneses) is one of the league’s strongest middle blockers.”

“At her young age, she has shown a lot of potential at her position and yet she can get even better. She will surely help in providing stronger net defense to the team as well as produce the necessary points from the middle.”

Aside from Meneses, April Ross Hingpit will also be joining the Lifesavers.

Ferrer said he couldn’t wait to have the savvy setter from Bacolod in their lineup.

“She is a setter we can rely on to perform and bring out the best whenever she’s asked to play.”

Under construction

Sideliners believe that the acquisition of Meneses and Hingpit is just the start of a string of movements that would be done by the Lifesavers.

A source said the Lifesavers are inching closer to a deal with a new coach as well as a couple of local players.

Just the other day, imports Darlene Ramdin and Katarina Pilepic inked a brand-new deal while Generika-Ayala remains on the hunt for a foreign libero to fill the void that would be created by the absence of Bia General and Kath Arado, who will be making a return to the UAAP.

But still, the return of Meneses is a major development, a cause for celebration for a young squad that is trying to move on to a new era.

In fact, reports have it that she decided to forego her final playing year in the UAAP to grab a golden opportunity to return home and be with her family — the Lifesavers.

And Ferrer makes sure that she would feel at home.

“Welcome back to the Lifesavers, Riri. Welcome home.”