Former National University Bulldog, Peter Torres, was one of the athletes who bannered the Philippine flag in the recently concluded Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship. While the team did not obtain a podium finish, they were able to take home something of value that may be used to improve the local volleyball scene: experience. Torres shared with Tiebreaker Times, of the different things he learned while playing in the international tournament.
Just like in basketball, height is might in the sport of volleyball. Torres and his team experienced this first hand during the AVC U23. “Yung mga kalaban namin, malalaki tsaka mabibilis,” shared Torres.
“Yung team namin nakakalaban naman dun. Yung score [ng ibang games], dikit naman. Talo kami by 3 points, 2 points. Pero pag tinignan mo ‘yung height difference ng team, maganda na ‘yon. Kasi meron nga doon malalaki, ‘di naman ganoon kagaling skill-wise, so parang pantay lang.”
Unfortunately for the Philippine team, their height proved to be too big a disadvantage, as they placed 14th overall in the tournament. Despite the height difference, they were able to go toe-to-toe against some of the best volleyball players in Asia, losing to Iran, the tournament’s champion, in three very close sets.
“Pag kami nakaka-receive, di nila kami mapigilan, pag sila naman kailangan pumuntos, dinadaan kami sa laki. Height lang talaga, pero sabi nga namin kung mga player na yan kasing laki namin, kaya namin.”
As an athlete, you always want to improve the way you play, and one avenue of gaining that experience is by participating in international tournaments where the best of the best compete. As his stint in the tournament came to a close, Peter picked up a few lessons on the way.
“Yung sa akin yung napulot ko doon is ‘yung offense kailangan mabilis, at ‘yung blocking kailangan i-improve, kasi doon may mga kalaban sobrang [lakas] pumalo. Pero siyempre ‘yung height kaya talunin ng bilis.”
While he may have gained experience abroad, Peter has to re-adjust the way he plays in the local volleyball scene, as he is still participating in the Spiker’s Turf, where his team, the Cagayan Rising Suns, are battling for a Finals slot in the second elimination round. Despite a difficult time adjusting in his first game back, he was able to recover in time and help his team secure a 5-set victory over the Cignal HD Spikers.
“Medyo di pa ako nakaka-adjust, kasi iba doon, iba dito. Sobrang taas ko, yung bola naman nasa baba, kaya di ako makapalo ng mabuti. Pero tuloy-tuloy yung game at naka-adjust naman.”
“Siguro isa na ‘yun, kasi iba yung play namin dito, iba ‘yung play doon, iba yung sets. Pero siyempre trabaho naman namin para mag-adjust. Sa sarili ko, nalate lang siguro nakapag-adjust yung game,” added Peter. “ Nagtraining naman kami pagbalik ng dalawang beses, pero ‘yung binigay na focus ‘yung attack ng kalaban kung paano naming dedepensahan, kaya medyo nahirapan ako mag-adjust sa pagpalo.”
His transition back to local volleyball may have been a bumpy one, but Torres remains hopeful to incorporated the experience he gained from his participation in the international tournament, so that he may help his team win a championship.
“Focus kami sa ginagawa namin, kasi doon kami effective. Doon kami nagkakachance makapuntos. Kailangan namin ibalik kung paano kami pumalo dito, at idagdag lang ng pa onti-onti yung mga natuto namin [sa Myanmar]. Training lang, gel ulit, tapos magiging okay kami.”