Mika draws inspiration from Nene

Thursday, 03 Aug 2017
Nads Ong - @nadineisreal

Aside from building friendships and forming a solid unit, the room assignment formulated by national head coach Francis Vicente in their grueling 17-day training camp in Japan also helped skipper Mika Reyes draw inspiration from her roommate — assistant coach Nene Ybanez-Chavez.

The main goal of the room assignment was to make sure that nobody will be left behind.

Vicente wanted the Nationals to grow a better relationship that would squeeze out the best in them as they shoot for an impressive finish in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games this August.

Vicente didn’t fail.

It indeed resulted to something rewarding for the squad, especially for team captain Reyes.

While the other players were paired as roommates, the soft-spoken Reyes was assigned to team up with the 1993 SEA Games Most Valuable Player and Best Outside Spiker Ybanez-Chavez.

Reyes and Ybanez-Chavez got along very well.

She said the mentor often shared about the hardships and sacrifices that she and the rest of the national squad encountered before winning the gold medal in the biennial meet back in the days.

“Masaya, masaya siyang roommate.”
“Mukha siyang nakakatakot, mukha siyang strict pero hindi, hindi talaga. Inside the court sobrang strict, lagi niya pinupuna ang mga mali pero outside the court sobra siyang palabiro, sobrang makwento.”
“Ang dami niyang kinwento na mga experiences nila and inspiring ang mga kwento niya.”

True enough, the sport has grown since the time of Ybanez-Chavez.

If today’s difficulties are the social media trolls before it was the lack of support. The mentor told Reyes that they never enjoyed the solid support of the government, sponsors, and fans compared to what the national team has today.

“Siyempre hindi ko naman pwedeng sabihin ang mga kinwento niya pero like dati sabihin na natin sa panahon niya hindi pa ganoon ka support siguro like wala pang sponsors.”
“Ngayon nandiyan ang Rebisco, nandiyan ang LVPI na tumutulong talaga, si Sir Peter Cayco and si (DFA) Secretary Alan (Cayetano) nagpunta talaga doon sa Japan.”

Ybanez-Chavez also took no time to encourage Reyes to lead by example and give her best shot that there are lots of improvement on the national team.

“Pero matagal na daw ‘yun, ngayon daw nakikita na niya ang improvement.”

Reyes took all those words by heart.

After all, she has to learn from the best to perform at her best.