MANILA, Philippines—BanKo-Perlas played its first game of the second round in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference against PetroGazz virtually as an all-Filipino squad, as imports Kia Bright and Yasemin Yildirim were given limited minutes.
Neither import started, a decision made by Thai coach Apichat Kongsawat 2 days ago, according to veteran Dzi Gervacio. They were sent into the game after the first technical timeout of the opening set, but played sparingly.
When BanKo stunned PetroGazz in the third set, winning 25-22, they did so by playing the bulk of the set without a reinforcement. The American Bright, who was also BanKo's import last year, and Turkey's Yildirim combined for just 4 points in what turned out to be a 23-25, 11-25, 25-22, 25-20 defeat for the Perlas Spikers.
"There's some differences between the imports and coach. Alam naman natin, di ba? Asian and then Western. So for coach, I think the bottom line is hirap sila mag-fit in the system ni coach," Gervacio revealed after the game.
BanKo dropped its record to 2-4.
"I think it’s simple. Like, if you didn’t wanna train, you won’t play, di ba? So ayun," she added.
Gervacio, who scored 13 points in the game, also felt that their coach wanted to give the local BanKo players a bigger opportunity.
"Coach wanted to give us the responsibility, to carry the responsibility for the team. I mean, in the long run, we’re also preparing for the Open Conference," she said.
In a way, the move worked; they lost the opening set by just a slim margin and only after squandering a lead midway through the frame. They got it done in the third set, giving PetroGazz its first set loss of the entire conference.
"Sabi namin, 'Kahit isang set lang, that's good.' And naka-dikit naman the other set, so it shows na there’s just more good things to come, hopefully in the coming games," said Gervacio.
Moreover, seeing how they performed without their imports was a boost of confidence for the local players. Aside from Gervacio, team captain Nicole Tiamzon also shone in the game, tallying a team-high 20 points.
"I think for coach, it was just a matter of building our confidence more than anything. Sabi niya, he believed in us, na kaya niyo yan, just play your best and I think it worked pretty well for us kasi parang ayun nga, magaan sa loob," said Gervacio
According to Tiamzon: "You feel the accountability on the court na wala 'yung import, so ikaw 'yung pinasok. So mag-perform ka talaga. Team work pa rin, kahit anuman mangyari, kasi kami-kami lang din naman. Team naman kami, 'di kami individual players."
Will BanKo-Perlas continue to play with an all-Filipino squad? Gervacio isn't sure.
"Coach would always just tell us to prepare, and always just focus on the game. Kung ano yung maisip ng management, it’s their thing, it’s not our thing. Our job is to just play well and that’s what we’ll do na lang," she said.
BanKo-Perlas returns to action on Saturday against Creamline, in a game to be held in Iloilo City.
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