Will Morente suit up?

Thursday, 07 Dec 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad

Michelle Morente’s volleyball odyssey could lead her to an ultimate destination – the Philippine Superliga (PSL).

And it could happen as early as next year.

F2 Logistics head coach Ramil de Jesus raised the possibility of Morente seeing action when the PSL Grand Prix kicks off on Feb. 17.

De Jesus said the former Ateneo de Manila University star is very much eligible to play in the most prestigious club league in the country while serving her residency at De La Salle University in the UAAP.

Morente’s possible emergence comes at a perfect time.

With the PSL moving the schedule of the import-flavored Grand Prix from October to February, star players of the Cargo Movers like Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili and Majoy Baron have to sit out to re-join the Lady Spikers in their quest for UAAP glory.

De Jesus admitted that they would have a shortage of personnel, prompting him to activate Ara Galang and re-insert skipper Cha Cruz back into the rotation.

F2 Logistics insiders also bared that de Jesus is seriously contemplating on converting one of their imports into an opposite spiker and hire a foreign libero to fill the void created by the absence of national team members Dy and Macandili.

Still, having a talented opposite like Morente getting her baptism of fire at the PSL before formally plunging into the UAAP is a perfect scenario.

But de Jesus their decision is not yet final.

“It all depends if the team owner (of F2 Logistics) requests her to play.”

“We checked with the UAAP and she was allowed to play (in the PSL) without affecting her residency (in the UAAP). But it’s all up to the team owners. If they want her to play, we will field her. If not, she will stay in school and focus on her studies while serving her residency.”

No easy journey

Morente’s journey has never been easy.

After cutting her teeth in the volleyball court of Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS), the 22-year old workhorse left for the United States to pursue her studies and finetune her game.

She stayed there for a couple of years before returning to JASMS for her junior year and added basketball to her repertoire.

She evolved into a very good basketball player that she got college scholarship offer to play volleyball at Ateneo and basketball at Letran College and University of Santo Tomas.

She chose Ateneo.

She chose volleyball.

But fate had a cruel script.

Shortly after powering the Lady Eagles to a bridesmaid finish, Morente got cut from the Lady Eagles’ roster due to academic deficiency. It was the second time to commit such grave infraction, prompting her to walk away from the school.

Few months later, she resurfaced.

This time, she’s wearing the colors of Ateneo’s bitter rival – La Salle.

Those in the know said Morente moved to La Salle upon the invitation of no less than F2 Logistics team owner Efren Uy.

The source said Uy generously shouldered Morente’s tuition fee at La Salle while still serving her residency. She’s supposed to see action in the UAAP in 2018 to replace the graduating Dy.

That’s why it won’t be a surprise if Morente suits up for F2 Logistics before seeing action for La Salle, especially now that the Cargo Movers are having a shortage of personnel.

“That’s very possible.”

“But as coach Ramil said, it all depends on sir Efren. He has the final say on this matter.”

De Jesus said Morente is slowly getting back in shape.

And if she copes up with his system in the next couple of months, chances are bright that she could be making her PSL debut by next year.

“Right now, I’m happy with her condition. She really lost a lot of weight. I can see that she really improved a lot.”

“We just have to check if she could cope up with our system before deciding if she’s ready for the Grand Prix next year. But I can see that she’s working hard. After all, she’s already used to hard training after surviving the (training program) of (Ateneo) coach Tai (Bundit).”

“Let’s see. Anything can happen.”