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SMART to banner new core for All-Filipino Conference

The SMART Giga Hitters will get another reboot. This time around, the’ll be composed of the championship core of the PayMaya High Flyers.

PayMaya finished as runners-up in the 2018 PVL Reinforced Conference.

The team will be composed of Grethcel Soltones, Jasmine Nabor, Aiko Urdas, Jorelle Singh, Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone, Alyssa Eroa, Joyce Sta. Rita, Kat Villegas, Angelica Macabalitao, and Laurenz Ann Latigay. The rest of the team will be revealed later in the month.

Taking over coaching duties is none other than decorated tactician Roger Gorayeb, who is making a return to the Philippine Superliga after a four-year absence.

“Parang nothing new to me in terms of competition, pero sa mga bata lang, kasi parang it’s a different world for them,” remarked Gorayeb, who is one of two coaches who have won the triple crown in the V-League. “Yung iba first time maglalaro sa PSL. Sila yung more excited for this.”

“For years, coach Roger has proven that he is a winner, so we’re excited for the new direction of the Giga Hitters,” added team official Epok Quimpo, as Gorayeb has won two crowns with the PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters. “For now, we want to temper expectations, but of course we hope everything turns our way as the season comes along.”

The Giga Hitters made their debut in the PSL back in the Grand Prix. Though they finished in eighth place, the team provided a moment that will forever be remembered in the annals of Philippine volleyball history as Cuban import Gigi Silva dropped a whopping 56 points last April 7.

With a team reinforced by the Philippine Army Troopers, the Giga Hitters notched fourth place in the Invitational Cup.

On the other hand, PayMaya’s core used to be the team of Bali Pure in the PVL. The Purest Water Defenders bagged silver in the 2017 PVL Reinforced Conference before notching the Open Conference crown.

With this, Gorayeb is banking on the familiarity he has with his team to finally capture that elusive championship for Smart.

“Very important yan kasi yung cohesiveness ng team, depends on the familiarity they have with one another. Alam nila kung ano weakness nila at kung saang puwesto sila magaling,” shared Gorayeb “Yung in-game adjustments magiging mas madali.

“Kaya kami, nung nakaraan, less than one week lang before the season nagsimula. Pero nung nagkasama-sama kami, ang bilis nag-jive. First training namin was on a Thursday, tapos Sunday naglaro. Ayun nanalo. Off the court, masaya rin,” he added.

“The best thing is wala kang pinag-aadjust for every practice dahil alam nila gagawin nila. Parang well-oiled machine yan.”

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