OSAKA, Japan — The match had ended and the national women’s volleyball team was savoring the sweetness of its victory in a friendly match with the Osaka Superiors.
Head coach Francis Vicente gathered the troops to blurt an important question: Do you want to see the stats?
Everybody said “no.”
They’re not interested.
Personal glory doesn’t mean anything to them.
And it left Vicente very impressed.
The 25-21, 28-26, 25-19 victory over the Superiors is a testament to the great chemistry developed by the Nationals.
Jaja Santiago again bannered the scoring parade with 10 kills, three blocks and an ace for 14 points while Jovelyn Gonzaga chipped in six kills and three aces for nine points for the national squad, which is bracing for the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the Southeast Asian Games.
But what keyed the win wasn’t their personal numbers.
It was their collective effort.
It was the second straight win by the Nationals here after suffering a string of losses to Okayama Seagulls in the first leg of this grueling training camp.
Vicente, in fairness, should be credited for molding these stars in a solid, fighting unit.
He surprised them by shuffling the room assignment, making sure that everybody will get to spend quality time with teammates who could squeeze out the best in them.
For instance, shy and quiet Casugod was assigned to room with a fierce competitor in Marano while former SEA Games Most Valuable Player Nene Chavez was tasked to teach team captain Reyes a thing or two about leadership, volleyball, family and life in general during quiet nights.
La Salle stalwart Kim Dy also greatly matured, thanks to the friendship she developed with former Ateneo superstar Lazaro for the past 16 days.
Aside from the room assignment, Vicente also tasked the team to have some simple off-court chores like carrying the icebox, mopping the floor and even serving as lines officials in friendly matches.
Vicente reiterated that he’s glad over his wards’ refusal to see their personal numbers following a great victory.
They passed his test.
They proved that there’s no “I” in “Team.”