Instead of getting disappointed with their winless showing in the Thai-Denmark Super League in Bangkok , Petron-PSL All-Stars coach George Pascua sounded pleased with what he saw from the Selection Team.
But Pascua and top stars Rachel Daquis and Aby Maraño were frank enough to admit that the country’s quality of play remains a work in progress before the Philippines could regain its lost glory in the region.
“Four meetings lang kami nag-practice at hindi pa palagi kumpleto. Pero ‘yung mga bata naman, lumaban ng husto with heart and pride. Hindi tayo nagpabugbog masyado dito,” said Pascua, still sticking to the positives despite 3 straight losses in the invitational club tourney bannered by top Thai clubs.
The lack of preparation, according to Pascua, haunted the Filipinas’ no end. “Pero dahil nga sa kakulangan ng preparation, hindi natin ma-sustain ang intensity natin hanggang sa huli,” he said.
The Petron-PSL All-Stars opened their campaign on an encouraging note when they stood their ground against reigning Asian champion Bangkok Glass before surrendering a 25-23, 11-25, 16-25, 9-25 decision.
The Filipinas also suffered a straight-sets loss to another formidable squad, Idea Khonkaen, 22-25, 20-25, 19-25, and absorbed another four-set setback against last year’s runner up 3BB Nokhonnont, 15-25, 11-25, 25-23, 15-25 in the final day of pool play.
The 5-foot-10 Daquis, 28, an open hitter for powerhouse RC Cola-Army, believes the lessons they learned could serve the country well in good stead in international play, including the Southeast Asian Games which will be hosted by the Philippines in 2019.
“Nakita naming yung mga kakulangan namin at kailangan pa namin i-improve,” said Daquis, who will spearhead the Lady Troopers in the final round of the PSL Invitational starting on April 7. “Yung mga sets nila ang bibilis, so siguro ‘yun talaga ang kailangan i-improve ng ibang Filipino players, hindi lang kami na ipinadala dito.”
The 5-foot-9 Maraño readily agreed to Daquis’s observation, saying: ”Yung mga nakalaban namin dito mga national team members at may imports pa. So given the limited time to prepare, hindi din kami gan’un ka-competitive. But still, we gave them a very good fight.”
Among the top Thai players that the Petron-PSL All-Stars faced were the likes of World Grand Prix veteran Pleumjit Thinakaow, Asian Games standout Pornpun Guedpard and rising star Chatchu-on Moksri, who will be bannering Thai’s guest squad Est Cola in the final round of PSL Invitationals. — By Jerome Lagunzad