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PLDT adjusts as Mika Reyes returns, Rhea Dimaculangan takes a break

PLDT is set to welcome back middle blocker Mika Reyes but will miss the services of veteran playmaker Rhea Dimaculangan in the upcoming 2024 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference.

High Speed Hitters head coach Rald Ricafort confirmed the development to Tiebreaker Times.PVL-AFC-PLDT-vs.-NXLED-Rhea-Dimaculangan-3979 PLDT adjusts as Mika Reyes returns, Rhea Dimaculangan takes a break News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Reyes underwent surgery earlier this year for a nagging right shoulder injury, causing her to miss the season-opening All-Filipino Conference. Meanwhile, Dimaculangan, who recently married longtime partner Raymond Villarete, will be on her honeymoon abroad until September.

Ricafort said that Reyes’ return is a welcome development for a PLDT squad that is set to miss starting middle blocker Dell Palomata, who was loaned to the Alas Pilipinas national team until August 11.

PVL-Invitational-2023-PLDT-vs.-Akari-Mika-Reyes-7199 PLDT adjusts as Mika Reyes returns, Rhea Dimaculangan takes a break News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news“Sa ibang positions naka-lock na kami kasi marami na. Kahit nag-national team si Dell [Palomata], apat pa rin ang naiwan na middle blocker kasi nakabalik na si Mika from her injury,” Ricafort said.

Reyes is set to rejoin the High Speed Hitters’ middle blocker rotation, which includes Majoy Baron, Jessey De Leon, and Rachel Austero.

Regarding Dimaculangan, the former PVL champion coach shared that the 33-year-old setter’s planned leave played a crucial role in the team’s decision to pick up Adamson setter Angge Alcantara in the recently concluded PVL Rookie Draft.

Ricafort revealed that Alcantara worked out with the team two weeks before the combine and has been a great fit as a backup to starting playmaker Kim Fajardo.

“Malaking tulong, of course. Marami ata ang nagtaka na setter ang kinuha namin, pero she’s been training with us for almost two weeks. Pero ‘yun nga since kulang rin talaga kami kaya siya ang naging priority namin,” said the former UP men’s volleyball coach.

“Basically, ‘yun ang scenario namin. Kaya nanigurado ako kay Angge. Saka kahit bumalik na si Rhea, okay na ako sa three setters sa lineup,” he added.

Ricafort also provided updates about star opposite spiker Kianna Dy, who has missed nearly a year of action due to a right knee injury.

#ReadMore  Leila Cruz overcomes illness to deliver long-awaited volleyball comeback

Dy suffered the injury during the semifinals of the Invitational Conference last year while she was still with F2 Logistics and has not played since being acquired by PLDT late last year.PVL-Invitational-F2-vs.-Kurashiki-Kim-Dy-7110 PLDT adjusts as Mika Reyes returns, Rhea Dimaculangan takes a break News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Si KKD, ongoing pa rin ang rehab niya. Medyo complicated kasi yung naging injury niya, pero same plans pa rin naman kami. Kung makahabol siya this conference, papalaruin namin siya paunti-unti,” said Ricafort.

Ricafort mentioned that a realistic return timeline for the former La Salle star would be in October, but he emphasized the team’s patience with her recovery to prevent setbacks.

“Pero kung hindi pa kaya, October talaga ang realistic na timeline of return. Hindi ko pa rin ipipilit kung hindi pa siya fully recovered para maiwasan ang setbacks,” he added.

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