Are you ready for the Transformers?
No, this is not the next installment of the blockbuster science-fiction movie franchise but the moniker of an expansion team ready to cause a shake-up in the forthcoming 13th Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference.
In its mission to uplift its public image and spread a corruption-free branding, the Bureau of Customs has tapped the services of Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Meneses to form a team capable of giving powerhouse squads like Air Force and Pocari Sweat a run for their money.
“Number 1 mission nila is mabago ang image ng Customs. Alam naman natin na ‘yung image nila about sa corruption eh malaki. ‘Yun ang unang goal nila na ‘yung funds nila ay mapunta sa maganda at makabangon sa pangit na image nila,” Meneses told FOX Sports.
Aside from building a competitive squad from the ground up, Customs is also looking at employing the athletes who would commit to the team and give them a regular job in exchange for helping the institution in reinstalling its credibility.
But even though this is a welcome development for the growing sport, Meneses admits that in his efforts of starting with a clean slate, finding top talents who are not yet signed with other different club teams has been extra challenging.
“Ang goal namin wala kaming masagasaan na team o coaches pero kahit ano lang ang mabuo naming team, tina-try lang namin maging competitive,” he said.
“Long-term ito. Long-term ang goal ng team na ito,” he added. “Actually, ‘yung mga players ino-offer-an silang mag work sa Customs kasi karamihan nga dun is bago. ‘Yung mga graduate na kukunin namin possibly ma-employ din dun.”
Following an open tryout, names that have surfaced to make up the core of the Transformers are Rizza Mandapat, Fhen Emnas, Michiko Castañeda, Menchie Tuviera and 2 other spikers off Arellano University.
The big reveal, however, came when Meneses dropped the name of 3-time UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez as the torch-bearer of his team when the tournament kicks off in October.
“Confirmed player si Alyssa (Valdez),” said the mentor on reuniting with Valdez who he momentarily handled when he joined Ateneo at the tail-end of Season 78.
“Humble beginning pero tournament ‘yan. May Alyssa Valdez ka tapos may dalawang imports ka. Laban na ‘yun,” he added.
Meneses also revealed that Customs will be backstopped by 2 Thai imports whose names he will reveal at a later time.
With things looking up for him, Meneses is slowly but surely healing from the difficult first quarter he’s had this 2016 where he had a major fallout with Adamson University.
Asked if he feels vindicated, he humbly closed by saying: “Buenas lang siguro kasi wala naman tayong ginawang masama eh. Kaya din siguro sunod-sunod ‘yung blessings na dumarating. Ganun naman talaga eh.” — By Mac Dionisio