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2019 SEA Games

Delos Santos did not hesitate to bring Rhea Dimaculangan back to PWNVT



Tiebreaker Times Delos Santos did not hesitate to bring Rhea Dimaculangan back to PWNVT 2019 SEA Games News Volleyball  Shaq delos Santos Rhea Dimaculangan Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team 2019 SEA Games - Volleyball 2019 SEA Games

When Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team head coach Shaq Delos Santos worked on the final cut of his roster for the 30th Southeast Asian Games, he sought a reliable playmaker who isn’t foreign to international competitions.

Fortunately, Delos Santos did not need to look far. After all, one of his wards in Petron fits the bill perfectly —Rhea Dimaculangan.

The grizzled tactician admitted that he had no hesitations when he made the decision to bring Dimaculangan back and convince her to don the tri-colors anew.

“Sinabi ko naman sa kaniya na isa siya sa maayos na setter dito sa atin. And experience-wise, meron siya,” Delos Santos bared.

“So, kaya ‘yun. Walang hesitation na kunin siya o para pabalikin siya sa National team.”

And then, as the saying goes — if it fits, wear it.

A year ago, Dimaculangan gave up her spot as one of the Philippine contingents in the Asian Games and Asia Women’s Volleyball Cup. Now, she has accepted the responsibility of representing the country anew.

“Nakakatuwa kasi andoon pa rin ‘yung tiwala ni coach. Siyempre parang andoon. So binigay ni coach ‘yung tiwala na ‘yun so pangangatawanan ko nalang,” the 5-foot-7 orchestrator gushed.

But when asked whether she expected to receive a call of national duty for the multi-nation tournament on November, the 28-year-old product of UST confessed that the invitation came as a surprise.

“Actually hindi [ko expected] kasi ‘yung mga kalaban ko rin sila Kim [Fajardo], sila Alohi [Robins-Hardy], at sila Iris Tolenada,” Dimaculangan confided.

“So, hindi ko ine-expect na mangyayari pa rin ‘to.”

This marks the third stint in the Southeast Asian Games for the three-time PSL Best Setter and one-time league Most Valuable Player. She was among the country’s contingents that went to war in the 2015 Singapore and 2017 Kuala Lumpur editions of the same tournament. And without a doubt, her experience will be of good use to the Delos Santos-mentored squad.

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Moreover, with all the preparations of the flagbearers over the past several months, Dimaculangan believes that the Philippines has a legitimate shot of ending its 14-year medal drought in the biennial regional meet.

“Siguro ‘yung team kasi ngayon, parang ang dami ng training camp na pinagdaanan, so feeling ko mas kayang lumaban this SEA Games,” she asserted.

“And lahat parang nagma-mature na rin ‘yung mga players, at hindi na rin naninibago sa international competition. So feeling ko kaya naman.”