The PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters started their Shakey’s V-League tournament on a high note, defeating the Baguio Summer Spikers in three quick sets despite missing the services of head coach Roger Gorayeb, Amanda Villanueva, and Gretchel Soltones, who were in Thailand participating in the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup. Back-to-back UAAP MVP, Alyssa Valdez, was also missing in action, as she had prior commitments to attend to.
While Alyssa was unable to play, fellow Lady Eagle, Denden Lazaro, made her PLDT debut in the team’s victory over Baguio. Heading into the game, Denden said she was only able to train with the team a day before their match against Baguio. With just one day of practice, Denden shared that she is far from her peak condition, but is thankful that she was able to get some rest after a grueling two years.
“No definitely not. As in two weeks akong nagpapahinga. Kasi two years din ako hindi nagpahinga. [I’m making the most out of] the rest that I have.”
With many new teammates in her new team, one player stands out for Denden. Three-time UAAP best digger awardee Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone is the perfect mentor for Denden. Often compared to Lizlee, Denden said that while she is just starting out, Lizlee has accomplished so much already.
“I’m far from her. She’s up there and I’m starting out pa lang.”
“Well, flattered. It’s Lizlee. Ann. Gata,” Denden added, emphasizing each syllable in the name of her idol. ” She’s like, the best. ‘Yun lang masasabi ko, she’s the best. Oh my god.”
So what’s it like being in the same team as one of the people you look up to? Well, Denden shared that while they have not spent a lot of time together yet, she has enjoyed the time they have spent so far.
“We just started yesterday. Pero ayun, nagtatawanan lang kami. All fun.”
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