Teeming with All-Star talents all throughout, the PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters have certainly lived up to everyone’s expectations as they began their Shakey’s V-League Open Conference campaign by winning their first three games against the Baguio City Summer Spikers, Philippine Army Lady Troopers, and the Philippine Coast Guard Lady Dolphins.
Currently gaining steam as the league progresses, every small step along the way leads to the big leaps of head coach Roger Gorayeb’s season-long mission of developing his gargantuan team into a solid, unified, and hardworking bunch.
“Kami naman eh, salamat kung ganoon ang tingin nila [sa team namin]. Malakas kami kung titingnan mo kada tao,” Gorayeb shared on being labelled as one of the more stacked teams in the league. “Hindi naman namin iisipin na sila lang [PLDT] ang malalakas [dito sa V-League] para magpupursigi kami palagi, at para nandoon din lagi ang humility [kapag naglalaro sila].”
With Gorayeb’s team having Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez, Denden Lazaro, Jem Ferrer, and Charo Soriano, NU’s Jaja Santiago, Adamson’s Amanda Villanueva and Lizlee Gata-Pantone, UST’s Rubie De Leon, UE’s Sue Roces, San Sebastian’s Gretchel Soltones, Louann Latigay, and Rysabelle Devanadera, and University of Perpetual Help’s Elaine Kasilag and Asuncion Mendoza aboard, the veteran coach also gave some tidbits on how he plans to manage each and every one’s playing time.
“Wala naman kasing mayabang diyan [sa mga players ko] at wala din naghahanap ng [maraming] playing time,” Gorayeb added. “Kapag nagpasok ako ng anim at maganda ang nilaro, iyan na ang bibigyan ng [sapat na] playing time.
In addition, Gorayeb also expects the maturity of his players, with Roces as the team’s captain, to be established whenever they step inside the court. With great leadership and poise, all things will run eventually smoothly. Likewise, Gorayeb stressed that one of his main cards this season is Valdez’s vastly-improved game.
“Masaya ako kasi yung maturity ni Alyssa as a player nandiyan,” he remarked. “Before, when she started with me in Ateneo, batang-bata pa siya pero ngayon super matured na laro niya at malaking bagay iyon.”
Lastly, with the season still just in its early stages, Gorayeb also hopes that his team will always keep their foot on the ground since and he wants them to be unified, rather than see them giving into their egos to put up monster performances game in and game out.
“Sabi ko nga, mga humble naman itong mga batang ito,” Gorayeb quipped. “Hindi naman sila after sa [personal] stats nila kasi [dapat] after sila na manalo kami [constantly as a team]. We just play and give our best, ganoon lang. The more games you win, the lesser the pressure is kasi kapag may must-win situations, ayaw ko [umabot doon.]”