A couple of months ago, multi-titled coach Roger Gorayeb was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a potentially fatal illness.
Fortunately, as one of his daughters in the volleyball landscape Grethcel Soltones disclosed, Gorayeb willed through his battle against the disease and has been steadily recovering. He has made progress by the minute, so much so that the veteran mentor was already discharged from the hospital.
“Nakauwi na po noong isa araw po ata or two days ago, tapos medyo ok na siya, nakakapag-chat na siya,” Soltones revealed moments after she was hailed the Most Valuable Player in the inaugural NCAA Season 95 All-Star volleyball game on Tuesday.
“Nag-message ako sa kanya sabi ko, ‘Tay pagaling ka.’ Tapos nag-reply siya ng heart. Sobrang happy siyempre [na] road to recovery na siya.”
Gorayeb last held the fort for the PLDT Home Fibr in the PSL Invitationals, before he was confined at St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Despite his absence, Gorayeb’s imprint over the local volleyball is evident. He has handled squads and players in the collegiate ranks of the UAAP and NCAA, semi-pro scenes of the PVL and PSL, and even the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball team.
Gorayeb’s brilliance catapulted the Lady Eagles to prominence, having manned the helm for the blue and white from 2008 to 2013. He has steered the now-proud collegiate volleyball program to numerous Final Four and championship appearances, even igniting the storied rivalry of Ateneo and La Salle.
He has also led several club teams to the promised land on numerous occasions, the last of which was with Bali Pure two years ago. Additionally, he has manned the helm for the Under-23 squad of the Philippine women’s national volleyball program and the 2015 Southeast Asian Games tricolor team, which competed in Singapore.
So it’s easy to understand the sense of loss in his players without him during training and matches.
As San Sebastian libero Jewelle Bermillo put it, “Parang sobrang adjustment po namin sa training kasi wala po si coach. Si coach Clint [Malazo] po, same pa rin po ‘yung program, pero kulang pa rin po kapag wala si coach Roger.
“Malaking impact pa rin po si coach Roger sa amin.”
But without a doubt, the local volleyball community is beyond relieved that Gorayeb is taking a turn for the better.
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