Is it goodbye for Lady Oragons?

Friday, 05 Jan 2018
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

Iriga City may have played its final match in the Philippine Superliga (PSL).

Head coach Parley Tupaz admitted that the Lady Oragons are now disbanded following the expiration of their contracts last Dec. 31.

Tupaz, the former trainer of the national team that saw action in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, said they have yet to receive any marching order from the management, prompting them to search for opportunities elsewhere.

Iriga City could have been a fighting team.

In fact, the squad drafted good imports in Tamara Kmezic of Serbia and Saama Miyagawa and Minami Yoshioka of Japan, giving it a handsome chance to contend with the powerhouse of the league.

The Lady Oragons were off to a hot start with a victory over Sta. Lucia Realty in its opening match.

But luck refused to smile their way.

Star player Gretchel Soltones was slapped with a one-year suspension and a P50,000 fine after playing in an unsanctioned exhibition match.

With Soltones out, the Lady Oragons suffered a string of misfortunes and closed their campaign with an eighth-place finish, just a hairline ahead of winless Victoria Sports-University of Santo Tomas squad.

That proved to be their final hurrah.

“At this point, I think it’s safe to say that Iriga City is already out.”

“We don’t know what will happen next. Upon the expiration of our contracts, the management told us that we would just be given a call. I, personally, don’t want to keep my hopes high. So I searched for other options outside the club.”

Tupaz said he has no idea if the Lady Oragons will still be back.

“I really don’t know if they are just taking a leave or will bolt out for good. I have no idea.”

Doors still open

Tupaz was in attendance in the PSL meeting Friday where he told league officials about the future of the club.

A prominent source who attended the meeting said ranking PSL officials were saddened by Iriga City’s decision, but are still keeping their doors open for a possible return.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to spill pertinent details, the insider said the PSL is like a family and if ever the Lady Oragons want to clear things out, the lines of the league will always be open.

If and when the Lady Oragons bolt out, the league will be reduced into seven clubs with Petron, F2 Logistics, Foton, Cignal, Generika-Ayala, Sta. Lucia Realty and Cocolife.

“If ever they decide to return, the doors of the league will always be open. The PSL will still welcome them with open arms.”

“At the PSL, we’re like a family. Teams may come and go, but they will always occupy a special place in our hearts. Things like that happen for a reason.”

Tupaz, for his part, is expected to join a different club when the season-opening Grand Prix fires off on Feb. 7.