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One month preparation for U23 not a problem for MVPs Valdez, Soltones



Just days away from participating in the inaugural edition of the U23 Women’s Volleyball Championship, Team Philippines is in full preparation mode. After powering through Fourbees-Perpetual in straight sets, PLDT Home Ultera players, Alyssa Valdez and Gretchel Soltones, who also happen to be members of the U23 team, weighed in on their thoughts about the upcoming international tournament.

As the new kids on the block in the international competition, Team Philippines captain, and UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez is very excited to play with her new teammates.

“I think I’m more of excited, because it’s the first time I’ll be playing with these girls internationally, so it’s really going to be a different experience for all of us,” said Alyssa.

Part of Pool A, Team Philippines will be facing heavyweights Iran and Kazakhstan in the preliminary round of the tournament. While other teams have had months, if not a whole year to practice together, Team Philippines has only been able to practice together for a month.

NCAA MVP, Gretchel Soltones doesn’t think that the team’s lack of training together will be a big issue, for while the team hasn’t been able to practice together for a long time, the players have been able to keep in top shape individually since they play for their school teams as well.

“[We’ve been training for] Just three weeks, one month. Siguro kulang ng ‘onti, pero kung hindi naman kasi magkasama, may training kami sa schools namin. Pero as a team, siguro enough ‘onti? Pero like, the other teams have been preparing for a year. Tignan nalang natin kung ano magiging resulta kasi nagprepare naman kami ng maayos,” shared Gretchel. “Si Coach [Roger] ‘yung nag adjust ng time namin, since same coach naman sa under 23 and PLDT. Siya yung nagse-set ng time kung anong oras kasi iba-iba din yung ligang sinasalihan namin, diba? So nakakapagod din, at kelangan niya mag adjust ng time para sa amin.”

Alyssa, on the other hand, shared that there’s no such thing as “prepared enough”, citing the desire to learn something new everyday, not only as a player, but as a person. While she doesn’t really know what’s going to happen in the tournament, she promises that the team is doing all it can to improve their performance in the tournament.

“I think one month [of preparation], almost. For me as a player, there’s no enough. Everyday you have to learn something new, everyday you improve as a player, as a person. Definitely walang enough training for us. We’re eager lang to learn everyday,” confided Alyssa. “It’s really twice a day training. We’re working hard, and we really don’t know what’s going to happen to us. We don’t know, pero we’re going to work hard and we’re going to train a lot. Sana mag gel kami as a team.”

As the ‘newbies’ in the international scene, Alyssa hopes that they will be able to make use of their advantage and surprise their opponents.

“We’re going to go there excited, we’re going to go there as ‘newbies’. There are advantages, there are disadvantages, but definitely we’re going to work sa advantages [namin]. Sana maging advantage yung pagiging ‘newbies’ namin.”

Meanwhile, Soltones promised that the team will do their best, not only for the country, but also for the multitudes of volleyball fans that have helped the sport grow into what it is today.

“Hindi naman mabubuo yung volleyball ng malaki kundi sa kanila.”

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