No Role Too Small For Angge Tabaquero

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“He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.” 

These were the exact words of Ma. Angeli ‘Angge’ Tabaquero after she was asked to give a comment about being replaced as the Power Pinays team captain for the upcoming Asian Women’s Club Championship (AWCC) to be held on April 16-25 at Nakhompatom, Thailand.

Last Monday, along with the announcement of the 14 names who will be flying to Asia’s volleyball mecca for a 2-week training and a 10-day competition, it was made official by Philippine Super Liga president Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara that Rachel Anne Daquis will supersede Angge as the squad’s captain ball.

Though still included in the line-up, many fans were curious on how the 24-year old Cagayan Lady Rising Suns’ skipper took the news.

“Actually, yung pagiging captain ball naman it’s just a title eh,” clears Tabaquero. “With all the veterans in the line-up, mapasama ka lang sa kanila isang malaking karangalan na.”

As graceful as she is on the court, the former captain took the news in stride as she clarified that it really is not an issue.

In fact, she was even all praises for Philippine Army’s open hitter and incoming Power Pinays TVolution captain, Rachel Anne Daquis.

“We all know how good she is as a player and as a leader.”

“With all the training and the experience I’m going to get, who am I to ask for more?” says the ever-smiling Angge. “This is a team sport and we are all team players kaya no hard feelings at all.”  

A More Experienced Batch of Power Pinays

With the infusion of 3-time Olympic gold medalist Regla Bell and Japan ace setter Misao Tanyama as guest players, veterans Mary Jean Balse, Micmic Laborte, Lizlee Ann Gata, Mitch Datuin and Suzanne Roces are expected to lead this team to a much-coveted podium finish.

Good support will also be provided by young and talented players like Honey Royse Tubino, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Jheck Dionela, Arriane Argarin and Jaja Santiago who will complete the 14-woman delegation to the AWCC.

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With the reinforced line-up, Angge believes they have a great chance to have a good finish in the upcoming Asian tournament.

“Karamihan kasi mga beterano na, may mga experience na, mga dating national team players,” she adds. “Kaya tiwala ako na this team, especially with Ate Ging, has the ability to do well in the competition.”

Though this is not their first time to play internationally together, Tabaquero is psyched about the fact that she will get to play with her senior back in college, Mary Jean ‘Ging’ Balse, again.

In a previous interview, she revealed that the reason she wanted to study at the University of Santo Tomas a couple of years back was because she badly wanted to be teammates with her “Ate Ging.”

“Nawala na yung pagka-starstruck ko sa kanya pero yung respeto, ang taas pa din,” she quipped. “She will always be my idol and my senior.”

“I’m sure with all the experience and the kind of leadership that she has, along with Rachel, we would all be in good hands.”

Angge On Her Career and Her FHM Cover

In FHM’s April 2014 issue, Angge, along with Super Liga volleybelles Mitch Datuin, Abby Praca, Jed Montero and Liss Gohing surprised the volleyball community as they appeared in skimpy swimwear on the cover of the men’s magazine.

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Tabaquero may be known for her feisty and intimidating persona on-court, but she is also famous for always being nice and sweet especially to her legions of fans which is the reason her appearance on the magazine came as a surprise.

So what made her say yes?

“Before pa naman ang shoot, na-explain na samin na sports related yung article,” she clarifies. “Kaya it was never a problem for me.”

She admits, though, that she had to ask for her parent’s permission before doing the cover.

“Ayaw ko naman na bigla na lang magulat sila na nandun ako, diba?” Angge adds, laughing. ” Kaya I had to mention it to my parents,”

“They just said na basta hindi super revealing which is what happened naman: Nothing too revealing.”

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With the newfound fame of her beloved sport, all the mileage, the TV coverage, the magazine covers and her continuous inclusion in the national team, it is both endearing and refreshing to hear one of the most recognizable faces in local volleyball downplay her current prominence.

“You know, sa totoo lang, I’m just here to live my dream just like everyone else,” she said. “It’s not about the fame or the money anymore.”

“It is now about the fulfillment I have inside that I was able to make my dream come true: To play for the national team.”

“And when your dreams start to happen right before your very eyes, you don’t stop, eh.”

“You dream bigger. You dream for more.”

You see, they say nothing is constant in this world but change. I beg to disagree.

I have seen fame change many people but not this bubbly and humble girl.

The fact is, her ability to leap high will one day fade.

Her powerful spikes will most likely dwindle.

But her sunny personality and the warmth and sincerity she exudes every time you have an encounter with her?

It will surely outlast any amount of fame or skill she has or will have in the future.

Captain or not, good luck, Angge! Good luck, Power Pinays! The entire country, though not physically present, will be 100% behind all of you. Laban Pilipinas!

Australia breaks Power Pinays’ 2-game winning streak

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NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand — The Philippine national women’s volleyball team failed to extend their winning streak to three as they yielded to Australia in straight sets at the Asian Volleyball Championships on Thursday, September 19, at the MCC Hall, The Mall.

After winning back-to-back games against Sri Lanka and Myanmar, the Power Pinays were turned back by the Australians, 25-22, 25-15, 25-23, and was booted out of contention to be in the 9th to 10th place of the competition.

The PH team fought tooth and nail against their adversary and was almost successful in snatching the 3rd set to extend the game but to no avail.

After tying the game 22-all in the final frame, the national team faltered as the Aussies scored 2 consecutive points with an attack and an ace which brought them to match point.

Team captain Angge Tabaquero countered through an attack from the middle to keep the hopes of breaking into the top 10 alive, 23-24, but Australia proved to be too strong as they ended the match via an emphatic crosscourt kill.

“Ang problema, ang bilis bumaba ng morale niyo,” said head coach Ernesto Pamilar to the girls during their post-game huddle. “Natalo lang kayo sa unang set na dikitan, bumigay na kayo sa second.”

Honey Royse Tubino led the PH spikers with 10 points off 7 attacks and 3 blocks followed by Wenneth Eulalio and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas with 8 points apiece.

Charge it to experience

After failing to at least duplicate the 9th place finish of the last PH team sent to the AVC back in 2005, the Power Pinays will battle first-day tormentor India, who finished them off in straight sets as well, to contest the 11th spot.

Pamilar believes, though, that their lopsided loss in the tournament opener was due to the team’s lack of experience and exposure.

“Kulang sa time mag practice together ang team,” he said. “Tapos dagdag mo pa na karamihan sa kanila, first time sa international scene.”

After going head-to-head against Asia’s best of the best, the head coach thinks his wards are already capable of avenging their loss to India.

“Gamay na ng setter ang spikers niya,” said Pamilar. “Tapos yung injury ni Angge, okay na.”

“Bukas, lalaban itong mga to.”

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End it with a bang

Though unable to break into the top 10, the people behind the PH team are still pleased with how the girls performed in the Asian Volleyball Championships, which will have its last few games tomorrow, Friday, September 20.

“I don’t want you to feel down,” said Philippine Volleyball Federation officer, Doc Ian Laurel. “You may have lost, but you made the country proud.”

“The trip back home will be so much sweeter if we end the campaign with a win!” he exclaimed.

Pamilar mirrors Laurel’s thoughts to boost the Power Pinays’ morale.

“Kalimutan niyo ang talo.” said Pamilar. “Isipin niyo ang laban bukas.”

“Ibigay niyo na lahat! Para sa sarili niyo at para sa bayan!”

Photos courtesy of DJ Bianca Frost

Power Pinays enter top 12

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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.
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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

Power Pinays grab win number one

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NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand – The Philippine national women’s volleyball team showcased clutch via a 5-setter match as they notch their first win against Sri Lanka at the Asian Volleyball Championships 19-25, 25-18, 19-25, 25-23, 15-11.
 
With a slow start on the first frame, the PH team had to extend the match down to the wire as they banked on veteran Aiza Maizo’s experience to get the elusive victory.
 
Coach Ernesto Pamilar had nothing but good words for the MVP performance of his prized utility spiker.
 
“Walang dudang magaling!” said Pamilar. “Pinanindigan niya lahat ng sinabi niyang magta-trabahao siya sa likod (floor defense).”
 
The UST alumna led the team with 22 points from 16 attacks, 5 blocks and a service ace and was provided with good support from Tabaquero’s 19 points, Benito’s 11 and Tubino’s 10.
 
“Pag nasa harap yan, di mo kailangan mag timeout.” continues Pamilar. “Alam niya kung kalian kailangan um-iscore at gagawan niya ng paraan maipuntos lang niya.”
 
Sri Lanka’s Somarathna had 19 big points off 15 spikes, 2 blocks and 2 service aces followed by Madumali and Chamarika with 12 and 8, respectively.
 
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A new volleyball era
 
Though it is just the team’s first win in 4 games, the Power Pinays, along with the Filipinos that came to the MCC Hall to witness the game, went wild as the girls ended the 5th and last set with 6 straight points.
 
Lefty Aiza Maizo, who contributed 3 of the last 6 points, including the game-winning shot, was humbled and happy about the game’s outcome.
 
“Siyempre sa dami ng nagda-doubt sa kakayahan nung team, masaya na naka-panalo kami.” she said. “Hindi madali lumaban kung pati kababayan mo dina-down ka. Pero laban sige lang ng sige!”
 
The win against Sri Lanka gives Pamilar and his wards an opening to battle for positioning to rank 9th-12th in the tournament.
 
This is already a big leap from their current 16th standing.
 
“Pag nanalo tayo sa Myanmar bukas, lalaban tayo for placing.” said Pamilar. “If we win that, we have a chance to place 9th as highest possible and 12th sa lowest.”
 
Pamilar believes this win will do wonders for the Power Pinays’ campaign at the AVC and future international leagues as well.
 
“If we rank higher than Indonesia and Myanmar, almost sure nang ipapadala din tayo sa SEA Games.” he said. “That is how crucial our ranking will be.”
 
Pilipinas volleyball on the rise
 
Though beating one of the lower seeded team may not seem like a big achievement to the critics, the win against ranked 13th Sri Lanka means everything to this new squad.
 
After missing out on sending a delegation to the biennial meet for eight years, the Philippines returned and received rave reviews from internationally renowned coaches.
 
After the praises given by China’s legendary coach Lang Ping, Sri Lanka’s Wannithilaka said the Philippine team’s strong showing surprised him.
 
“We don’t know how they play. We didn’t know what we’re up against,” he admitted. “They really caught us off-guard.”
 
His team, which played with 4 injured bench players, yielded the last 2 two sets of the game to the peaking Power Pinays.
 
“I think they won because of their powerful attacks,” said Wannithilaka.
 
“This team is strong and will get stronger in the coming years.”

Power Pinays crash out of the semi finals

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NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand, September 15, 2013 – The Philippine national women’s volleyball team had a measly output as they lost their 3rd straight game at the Asian Volleyball Championships against China, 25-9, 25-10, 25-8.
Pitted against a much taller and more experienced squad, the Power Pinays came into the match clearly as the underdogs with a tough task at hand; battle the defending champs of the biennial meet.
According to China’s head coach, Lang Ping, there are lessons that they could take from this match regardless of how easily they won it.
“I think today is different. They are pretty short,” she said. “There are some irregular balls. Drop balls. We don’t have that. We’re learning.”
Darlings of the crowd
The newly formed team from PH went into volleyball oblivion after going off the radar for the past three AVC tournaments.
Despite the loss, the Power Pinays seemed to have captured the attention of the fans not only from home, but from the host country as well.
Ranked 16th, the girls are considered the bottom dogs in each of their matches. And sometimes, that’s all you need to get the audience to cheer for you.
After a dismal first two sets, the Philippine team rallied at the 3rd through their good floor defense to close the gap 6-8, to the delight of the crowd.
“They’re happy when they are playing.” said China’s coach. “Their passing was really good. In time, they will improve.”
Continuous improvement
Showing grit and persistence, the girls made China work hard for every point as they dig and receive the attacks sent their way.
This resulted to rallies that elicited dozens of oohs and aahs from the people in attendance at the Chatchai Hall.
Head coach Nestor Pamilar explains the decision to use ace libero Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone did wonders for the team.
“Kahapon ko pa plano gamitin si Tatan (Gata) against Iran. Kaso hindi pinayagan maglaro dahil walang picture yung official ID niya.” said Pamilar.
“Kasi ang habol ko, yung mabilis ang galaw. And she proved na siya yun.”
Pamilar compliments the girls’ efforts in saving the ball regardless of their clear disadvantage in exposure and cohesion.
“Nakita naman natin, pag pinapaluan sila, naitataas nila.” he said. “Maliban sa malakas yung kabila, kulang lang talaga sa kumpyansa ang mga bata.”
“We’ll get there. With hard work, we will.”
The captain is missing
The PLDT Fibr-sponsored team missed the services of team captain Angge Tabaquero due to the injury limitations of her sprained ankle.
Team Physician Raul Alcantara advised Tabaquero to rest the injury and just prepare for the matches that they have bigger chances of winning.
“Gusto maglaro eh. Siyempre China. Gusto niya ma-experience.” said Alcantara. “But we didn’t want to risk it. We don’t want it to get worse.”
Pamilar describes Angge as a real fighter.
“She feels bad na di siya makalaro. Gusto tumulong sa team eh.” he said. “Sabi ko na lang, mas makakatulong siya, pag gumaling siya agad.”
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A positive outlook towards the team’s future
Regardless of the low output on their last game, coach Nes Pamilar still thinks his wards would go far.
For him, this is one of the strongest national volleyball teams we have come up with in recent years.
“Si (Rosemarie) Vargas injured. Si Angge injured. Pero binibigyan pa din natin sila ng magandang laban.” he continues. “Mabuo lang natin yang first six na yan, mabigyan ng magandang exposure, malayo mararating niyan!”
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas top-scored for PH with 10 points from 9 attacks and 1 service ace followed by Honey Royse Tubino with 4, all from spikes.
China’s Zhu Ting had a field day with 12 attacks, 4 blocks and 3 service aces amassing 19 points while Hui Ruoqi and Zeng Chunlel provided good back up with 12 and 10, respectively.
“We will be working harder para mapataas pa ang ranking natin.” adds Pamilar.
“Kung nakaka-intindi ka ng volleyball, alam mong may ibubuga itong mga batang ito.”