With the sudden decision by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to not send a basketball team to the Asian Games in Indonesia, most of the country’s attention will be turned to the the burgeoning sport of volleyball and their women’s team.
Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team head coach Shaq Delos Santos, however, was quick to remind spectators of the women’s squad’s 36-year absence in the continental meet.
If anything, the Asian Games represent a first step to finally establishing a long-term program after numerous failed attempts to jumpstart a proper National Team.
“Ako sa totoo lang, ayaw kong isipin na talagang kami ang [aabangan] kasi siyempre sa amin first time [in 36 years],” said the current Petron mentor.
“Sa amin kasi ilalaban namin hanggang dulo and then ang expectation… hindi naman namin mako-kontrol ang mga tao kung ano ang pwedeng sabihin nila sa amin. Pero kami, kahit anong mangyari, gagawin namin ang best namin, one-hundred percent, ‘yun lang.”
With the continent stacked with Olympic-level squads in China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, Delos Santos is hoping his wards will absorb optimal experience as they look ahead to other future competitions, such as the Southeast Asian Games which the Philippines will host in 2019.
“Wala akong puwedeng sabihin na, ‘Naku kasi ganito, ganyan.’ Ang pressure kasi lagi nang nandiyan ‘yan,” admitted the decorated mentor. “Pero kailangan mas i-challenge namin ang sarili namin kasi ito naman… Kumbaga hindi naman ito talaga ang gagawin namin kasi, siyempre, honestly speaking, limited ang time namin and ito lang ang magandang time sa pagpunta ng Japan na makukumpleto kami.
“So doon, doon namin makikita kung papaano ang galawan namin. Pero kami, definitely, naniniwala ako na malaki ang potential ng team.
“Hindi namin agad masasabi na talagang ito agad ang ilalaro nila kasi iba’t-iba pa rin ‘yung team na pinanggalingan niyan, iba-iba ng sistema, iba-iba ng ginagawa. So doon namin aayusin lahat. Sa ngayon, ako wala akong masasabi doon sa ganyang siutwasyon na walang basketball tapos kami ang ipapadala,” he furthered.
“So kami, hopefully, mas marami pa kaming mapasaya pa na tao doon sa gagawin namin and, hopefully, suportahan nila kami kasi alam mo naman na hindi magiging balanse lahat. May magsasabing okay, may magsasabing hindi pero nire-respect namin sila, gagawin lang namin ang best namin, ‘yun lang ang pwede kong masabi.”
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