LAOAG, ILOCOS NORTE — Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado are well aware of the targets behind their backs heading into Creamline’s title-retention bid this coming 2021 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.
With the team’s championship core now reinforced by former UP star Tots Carlos and ex-Petro Gazz tower Jeanette Panaga, Creamline, due to the withdrawal of F2 Logistics and despite the addition of former Philippine Superliga squads, remain as the clear-cut favorite to win it all barring any major injuries.
But for both Valdez and Morado, bathing in the pressure will do more harm than good in the squad’s quest for back-to-back Open Conference titles.
That’s why they are just focusing on the things that they can do to further strengthen their chances of winning the title once again — and that’s to become the best team that they can during their short time in the bubble.
“I think with Coach Tai [Bundit], it’s always about sticking to the program, sticking to the training,” said Morado on Thursday.
“We’re not training to beat just one team, we’re just doing our best to be the best team that we can, to be as cohesive as we can, and lalo na yung pinakachallenge ngayon is we’ve been away from training for so long so it’s not going to do us any good if we put pressure to ourselves like that.
“Kasi nakakailang competitions naman kami na ganun e so the easiest way to handle that is to just not think about it and just to train and be the best that we can every game, every point, and everything,” the three-time PVL Finals Most Valuable Player added.
Valdez echoed Morado’s statement but insisted that sticking to Bundit’s system will play a huge role in the title defense — especially now that the team’s preparation was limited by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s the same thing we have to stick with the game plan even if our training program or yung process ng training namin was cut short this time,” said Valdez, a seven-time MVP in the PVL.
“From how many months of preparing before to actually two months of training ngayon so very different din but I think we just really have to trust our coaches and our teammates also and lahat ng mga pinaghirapan namin dito and give it our all lang ‘pag dating sa mga games.”
Valdez, Morado, and Creamline will get to test their new schemes against Sta. Lucia in the final game of the PVL opening day this Saturday at 6:00 pm.