The 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference has been another tough go-around for the Cocolife Asset Managers.
So far, the Asset Managers have won just one match in seven outings, mirroring their struggle in the Invitational Cup.
But through the defeats, libero Denden Lazaro has been consistently solid. Her defense has been staunch, but her team’s offense has struggled.
The perennial National Team campaigner admits that the losses have been tough to handle, although Cocolife management already set her expectations.
“I think na-manage naman ‘yung expectations ko, bilang alam ko naman na not as experienced ‘yung mga kasama ko. A lot of them are actually college players,” admitted the 26-year-old defensive specialist. “It takes a lot of work and experience to be able to compete with the other teams. We need patience and hard work.
“Mahirap siya (losing), to be honest. Kailangan habaan mo ‘yung pasensya mo. Kailangan maging vocal ka rin. I need to be the bridge between a lot of my teammates and coach Moro (Branislav). It’s been tough, but my teammates are very receptive to comments and suggestions.”
So far, Cocolife have received a much-needed boost in Fil-American Kalei Mau. The Hawaii native leads the team in scoring, but still isn’t enough to get Cocolife over the hump.
“Si Kalei nahihirapan rin kasi she’s coming back from surgery and playing in a new environment,” shared the now three-year pro. “She has to be a leader for a team as well, so malaking adjustment for her. But, palaban talaga ‘yung attitude niya.
“Every challenge she gets, she treats as an opportunity for growth.”
Lazaro has been particularly rejuvenated this AFC, as almost every team has a high-caliber libero. Just this afternoon, Lazaro traded digs and receives with Generika’s Kath Arado.
The former Ateneo Lady Eagle finished with 30 digs and 11 excellent receptions, while the University of the East star tallied 31 digs and 21 excellent receptions.
And regarding her opponent, Lazaro agrees with most of volleyball fans: Arado needs to be on the National Team pool.
“She deserves a spot, lalo nang kailangan ng younger players sa pool and everyone needs experience. I just hope na magtuloy-tuloy ‘yung program for that. But Kath, she deserves a spot and a chance to play.”
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