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Lack of practice time troubles Army Coach

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The Army Lady Troopers have been perennially one of the best teams in the Shakey’s V-League, which consists of a lineup stacked with some of the country’s most decorated volleybelles.

This is why many expected their three-set defeat at the hands of the PLDT Ultra Fast Hitters to have gone longer than it did most especially their coach, Rico De Guzman.

“Hindi ako nagulat ‘yung mga player ko ‘yung nagulat,” De Guzman said. “Wala kaming service reception, wala kaming blocking, wala sila sa focus. Na-mental block sila. Hindi ko masabi kung kinabahan sila,” he continued. Pertaining to his team’s uncharacteristic lethargic effort in the opening set where they were thrashed, 16-25. Army eventually got their act together and were in prime position to take the following two sets. PLDT just came up with the big plays to squeeze past the Lady Troopers.

“Ang sakin naman basta nakarecover ‘yung team. Sabi ko nga sa kanila normal lang naman na matalo tayo kasi malalakas din kalaban namin. Ang problema ‘di tayo buo sa training,” De Guzman added as he expressed his concern with his team’s apparent lack of preparation.

“During the game lang kami nabubuo. Ten players lang ang pumupunta ng practice. Kung mapapansin niyo noong first set, ‘yung mga ginamit ko, ‘yun yung mga [nageensayo],” the military Sargeant explained, shedding light as to why he didn’t start the match with former UAAP Best Attacker, Dindin Santiago-Manabat. Along with Santiago-Manabat, there are three other current Lady Troopers who are also participating in the on-going PSL tournament namely, Rachelle Anne Daquis, Honey Royse Tubino, and Carmina Aganon. Daquis never lost her starting role because, as De Guzman stated in previous interviews, the former Lady Tamaraw religiously attends their practices. “Volleyball din naman ‘yun wala namang problema sa akin [ang paglalaro sa kabilang liga]. Sinusuportahan pa nga namin. Kaya lang ganito ang nangyayari sa game namin sa Army. Nagkakapaan pa. Di pa sila nagkakakilala sa play.”

“Matagal pa naman ‘yung tournament. Ngayon pa lang kami magsisimula. Okay na ako na nakita ko kung ano ‘yung problema ng team,” De Guzman said expressing optimism that his veteran team will find a way to turn things around.

“Narealize ng mga player na kailangan ‘yung presence nila during training.”

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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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