TWO Cebuana former volleyball players, former members of the Philippine women volleyball team that won gold medals for the country in the early 80’s and early 90’s, expressed contrasting opinions for this year’s 12-woman volleyball team that will be competing in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games (Seagames) in Singapore next week.
Grace Antigua is a former member of the PHL volleyball team, a hall of famer who won a gold medal in 1981, 1985 and 1987 Sea Games and she has high hopes for this year’s Sea Games PHL team.
“I have confidence with our women’s volleyball team, ni-level-up na ilang competitiveness,” said Antigua, now University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) head coach.
The last time the country won a gold medal in women’s volleyball competition was 22 years ago and it was in Singapore against Thailand.
“I saw some of the members of the Philippine team play in the recent Shakey’s Volleyball League Championship game. They displayed an impressive performance,” said Antigua.
Team PLDT Home Ultera grabbed this year’s title in the Shakey’s Volleyball League Season 12 Championship game against Team Philippine Army last Sunday.
Antigua said Thailand has become a stronger team since it has been competing in several Grand Prix competitions.
“Exposure-wise, Thailand has the advantage, but we really don’t know what will happen out there, let’s just hope for the best and that our team will bring home a medal,” said Antigua.
Thelma Barina, one of the three Cebuanas who played in the 1993 Sea Games that won the last gold medal for the Philippine team, expressed a different opinion.
She is not confident that the country is sending out the best women’s volleyball team.
“They will have a hard time. That composition is not our best. Other good players hindi nakasali dahil ang gulo ng dalawang associations (referring to Philippine Volleyball Federation and the Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc.),” said Barina.
The team will have lone Cebuana Gretchel Soltones, a former spiker of the Catmon Integrated School. The rest of the members are Alyssa Valdez, Rachel Anne Daquis, Aby Marano, Bea De Leon, Rhea Dimaculangan, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Dennise Lazaro, Julia Morado, Maika Ortize, Dindin Santiago-Manabat and younger sister Jaja Santiago. The team is scheduled to leave on June 4 with the grand parade on June 5, 2015.