NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand – The Power Pinays officially enters Asian Volleyball Championships top 12 after delivering a dominating performance via a 3-set win against Myanmar at the MCC Hall, The Mall 25-18, 25-22, 25-18.
With the team’s morale at an all-time high following their first win against Sri Lanka, the Philippine national women’s volleyball team showed no mercy as they charged towards the next round of competition; 9th to 12th classification games.
Team captain Angge Tabaquero could not contain her happiness as she relays how big of a dream come true this is for her.
“Sobrang saya!” she exclaims.
“Ang isang panalo, achievement na dahil bago kami.” said Tabaquero. “Eh naka-dalawa pa! Tapos 3 sets pa. Happy fiesta!”
Head coach Nestor Pamilar shares the same sentiments regarding today’s win.
“Ang taas nung pressure nung una. Pero kami, trabaho lang.” he said. “Ang tanging pananagutan namin eh magdala ng karangalan sa bansa.”
“At sa tingin ko, ngayong pasok na tayo sa top 12, mission accomplished tayo diyan.”
The rebirth of Philippine volleyball
The Filipino volleyball aficionados were initially divided when the Power Pinays lineup was released.
While most of the fans are voicing out their support, it was inevitable that some were not satisfied on who made the final cut.
Doc Ian Laurel, the man behind the dream to revive the national volleyball program, admits PH could’ve sent a stronger delegation.
“We wanted to get the biggest and the best but due to some unforeseen circumstances, we failed.” said Laurel.
“It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
“These girls may not be the strongest but they certainly have the biggest heart to fight for our country’s pride.”
Pamilar, on the other hand, still looks forward to having these marquee names in collegiate volleyball join the national team.
“Sinimulan natin. Nilatag natin ang programa.” he said. “Ngayong may suporta na galing sa mga kababayan at PLDT Fibr, umaasa tayo na sa susunod, sa tulong nila, mapalakas pa natin ang team na ito.”
Pamilar also addressed the people who doubted his wards’ ability to win games in the AVC.
“Sa totoo lang, malaking tulong sila.” said Pamilar.
“Dahil sa kanila, natuto mga players ko na mag pursige. Hindi para ipahiya yung mga hindi naniwala kundi para patunayan na deserving sila sa suporta.”
Now that the Power Pinays are already assured of a place in the top 12, Pamilar had nothing but one word for those who supported and those who doubted.
“Salamat.” he humbly said.
Still a lot of work to be done
Honey Royse Tubino top-scored for the Pinays with 8 attacks and 4 blocks amassing 12 points followed by wing spikers Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Analyn Joy Benito with 11 and 9, respectively.
Though the games were not televised, Filipinos celebrated every point as they tune in to Twitter updates that were provided online.
The hash tag #FibrPowerPinays became the number one trending topic in the Philippines as the nation showered the girls with thousands of congratulatory messages.
Laurel is happy about the attention and the support but reminds everyone that work does not end here.
“Sa suporta lahat nagsisimula.” he said. “Pero it doesn’t mean na nakuha mo na yan (support), titigil ka na.”
“Ang goal natin, mapataas ang level of play ng volleyball. Nasimulan na natin. Kailangan tuloy-tuloyin na.”
Myanmar’s head coach, Banterng Kaopong, believes this Filipino squad will go a long, long way.
“With good program, they will be strong again in Asia.” he predicted.
Enumerating reception, power tips and strong serves as PH team’s strong points, the Myanmar coach, who is originally from Thailand, foresees Philippines’ ascend in the international volley scene.
“I think the PH team is very strong,” he said.
“All they have to do is to keep joining international leagues for experience and they will be big.”
Photos courtesy of DJ Bianca Frost