Rather than providing excuses on why RC Cola Army started slow Saturday at the 2016 Philippine SuperLiga All-Filipino Conference, Jovelyn Gonzaga acknowleged the impressive outing of the young guns of F2 Logistics.
Minutes after losing the intense 5-set match in front of the thousands of fans in attendance, Gonzaga was all-praises to the inspired performance of the past and current players of collegiate powerhouse La Salle.
“Sa sobrang bilis ng mga bata nahirapan kami,” admitted the opposite spiker. “The best. Masasabi ko talaga na La Salle team the best ngayon sa generation nila. Nakakatuwa kasi nga binigyan nila kami ng magandang laban.”
With the likes of Ara Galang, Aby Maraño, Kim Dy and Kim Fajardo all finishing in double digits and combining for 52 big points for F2, the Lady Troopers got outsmarted and outhustled after only Gonzaga and Rachel Daquis made it past the 10-point mark.
But as the old adage ‘it takes two to tango’ goes, the spikers from the Philippine Army were also partly to blame for dropping their first game of the season.
“Sobrang basic din ng plays namin. Wala kasi kaming first ball receive dahil ang ganda rin ng service nila. Nakita naman natin sa fifth set na solid ang service nila,” she told FOX Sports.
Without veteran playmaker Tina Salak inside the court, RC Cola’s plays got too predictable for the Cargo Movers who put up a wall of net defense backed up by an equally astounding floor defense.
This all changed when Salak came in the third frame where the tides started to turn in favor of Army.
“Si Ate Tina (Salak) alam naman natin ang experience niyan madami na. Napaka-effective niya. Ang dami niyang alam na plays,” Gonzaga said talking about the difference a setter of Salak’s caliber can bring.
“Nung first 2 sets kasi kami ang nahirapan kasi nagmumukha kaming hindi marunong kasi puro open ang plays namin,” she added.
The former national team member managed to finish with 32 excellent sets as opposed to Fajardo’s 41 despite seeing less minutes inside the court.
Asked if the fans who will troop back to the FilOil Flying V Centre can expect Salak to start when they face F2 Logistics anew on Sunday, the Ilongga remained tight-lipped, holding back on giving away too much information.
“Hindi ko alam sa game plan nila coach kung mag starter si Ate Tina,” she said. “Diskarte kasi nila coach ‘yun. Tsaka gusto nila bigyan din ng exposure si Jane (Gonzales).”
On what must change in the next few hours in order for her team to avenge their defeat, Gonzaga closed by saying: “I-improve dapat namin ‘yung receive namin kasi nakita sa latter part na hindi kami nakabuo ng plays.” — By Mac Dionisio