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Gorayeb releases official statement on Risa Sato

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The internet was abuzz recently with news of Risa Sato possibly joining the NU Lady Bulldogs. The Fil-Japanese skipper was initially set to join the Ateneo Lady Eagles. Sato, however, apparently had trouble passing the Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET) due to a lofty language barrier as Sato does not yet have a good enough grasp of either Filipino or English.

Sato, allegedly, then went to NU to try out for their Women’s Volleyball program. Lady Bulldogs’ head coach Roger Gorayeb confirmed that Sato had practiced with his team. “Si Risa, isang beses pa lang naman pumupunta sa amin [NU],” said Gorayeb denouncing rumors that Sato was already enrolled in the Sampaloc-based school.

“To clear everything, ako ang kumuha kay Risa para pumunta sa Ateneo. Third-year high school yan minessage ako ng kanyang tita tapos mineet ako ng kanyang mama. Binigyan ako ng CD ng games niya tapos nirekomenda ko sa Ateneo. ‘Nung dumating nga lang siya ng Ateneo, wala na ako. Maganda naman [na pumunta siya sa Ateneo]. Ang problema, mahigpit talaga sa Ateneo. So hindi ata talaga magagawan ng paraan ‘yung pagpasok niya doon. Ang option nila, pumunta sa akin kung pwede sa NU. Bakit namin tatanggihan, eh baka mapunta pa siya sa kalaban. At saka sino pa ba ang unang pupuntahan niya? Siyemepre ako kasi ako ‘yung unang kumuha sa kanya saka kilala naman ako ng mother niya. Masasayang naman kasi siya kung hindi siya makaka-enroll,” Gorayeb told the media after their triumph against UST of which Sato was in the venue watching from NU’s side.

Sato played with the Philippine squad in the AVC U-23 tournament last May where she teamed with current Lady Bullddogs Jaja Santiago and Myla Pablo. The 5’10’ Sato is a versatile player who can play either in the middle or the wing positions. Adding Risa would patch up a major hole in the NU lineup in the upcoming UAAP as the Lady Bulldogs currently do not have a reliable middle blocker aside from Jaja Santiago.

Gorayeb also said in the interview that his current guest player, Dindin Santiago-Manabat will be out of the NU lineup by the time the semis roll around as she will play in the PSL. Gorayeb then ruled out the possibility of slotting Sato in for Manabat as Risa had already played for Ateneo and the Lady Eagles have yet to be eliminated from the tournament.

Still, Gorayeb is hopeful that Sato will be included in his lineup for the UAAP. “Masaya ako na ako ‘yung una niyang option after Ateneo. Sayang naman kasi ‘yung mga tulad niya kung hindi makakalaro sa UAAP,” Gorayeb said adding that they are still waiting for Sato’s papers. Sato could possibly enroll in NU this coming second semester.

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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