Midway through Game One of their best-of-three semifinals against PLDT, Go For Gold-Air Force head coach Rhovyl Verayo called his ace spiker Ranran Abdilla to the side.
Knowing his star’s capabilities, the multi-titled tactician told Abdilla to stop dropping the ball and go back to his old ways –attacking the ball relentlessly as hard as he could.
“Sinabihan ko si Ranran na hindi na puwede sakin ‘yung hulog hulog, gusto ko paluin mo lang ng paluin, wala akong pakialam kung ma-block nila, e ’di sa kanila.
“‘Pag hindi nila ma-block, e ‘di sa atin, kasi kailangan mo rin talagang bigyan ng kumpyansa ‘yung tao eh,” disclosed Verayo on Abdilla.
Upon hearing his coach’s request, Abdilla responded and went on to finish the game with 25 points, 22 of which coming from attacks, while also leading his team in a tight fifth set to gain a 1-0 advantage.
In the deciding frame, the 6-foot-1 fired two consecutive kills to buck PLDT’s late comeback attempt.
“Siguro, yung sinabi niya na ‘yon, tiwala lang siya sakin na ‘pag pinalo ko yung bola, dalawa lang ‘yun eh,” said the product of La Salle-Dasmarinas, who fired five big points in the deciding set.
“It’s either maboblock yung bola or mapupuntusan namin dahil sa palo na ‘yon.”
Abdilla – who is coming off a bronze stint with the National Team in the 2019 Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championships, admitted that he is feeling a bit under the weather, as they only landed in the country at 8:00 pm last Wednesday.
Still, the five-year pro had to gut it out for his mother team.
“Sa situwasyon namin, galing nga kami ng byahe, medyo mahaba yung byahe namin. Sa akin yung problema ko is yung tuhod ko, sumakit talaga siya, yung right namamaga, kasi yung upuan [sa eroplano], sobrang sikip, three hours akong ganon,” Abdilla said in jest.
Turning serious, though, Abdilla is just glad to take home the win in five sets saying, “Pero buti na lang, buti na lang nakuha namin yung game at nakabawi sa fifth set.”
Having faced the Power Hitters for a long time, Abdilla knows what PLDT is capable of, that is why it is very important for them to close it out in Game Two on Sunday.
“Yung PLDT alam namin gigil bumawi ‘yan, from last season ng Spikers’ Turf so ayon, ‘di namin sila minamaliit, talagang alam namin na competitive sila,” he said.
“Hanggang maari, hindi na namin sila bibigyan ng kumpiyansa, kasi ‘pag nagkaroon sila ng kumpiyansa talagang sa tingin ko, gustong gusto nila manalo e.”