It was a refreshing sight Monday evening when Pau Soriano, a spiker known for her poker face amongst other things, celebrated each of her 8 points with a smile in Bureau of Customs’ 3-set victory over UP.
Her partner in crime, fellow middle blocker Lilet Mabbayad, was equally jovial as she contributed 10 points to the Transformers’ victory in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Conference, causing her to jump in joy at the final buzzer.
Little did the 2 know, while the match was ongoing, the PSL has released a statement penalizing them both with a Php 50,000 fine for playing in the V-League when their contract with the former is to expire by the end of 2016.
But as it turns out, Mabbayad and Soriano, according to Customs’ head coach Sherwin Meneses, were fully aware of the implications.
“Nung first na kinuha namin sila, ‘yun na kaagad ang napag-usapan namin. Nag decide sila na sa Shakey’s V-League na lang maglaro. Pabor naman sa amin kung ganun,” Meneses told the press minutes after his 25-23, 25-18, 25-22 victory.
The Transformers’ debut was plagued by different controversies as both of their Thai imports were relegated to the bench due to the International Transfer Certificate they have not obtained as of gametime.
Aside from the hefty fine, Soriano and Mabbayad were also banned by the PSL to play in any of its tournaments for one year.
“Choice naman nila ‘yan kung saan sila maglalaro. Ang choice nila ay sa V-League so sa V-League sila maglaro,” Meneses said. “Tutal mahaba naman ang liga sa V-League bakit saan ka pa maglalaro? Pwede naman dito. Long-term naman ‘yung Customs eh so walang dapat ikabahala.”
“‘Yun ‘yung target talaga dito eh: long-term. Sa next conference tsaka sa mga susunod, nandun pa din naman kami,” he added.
As if on cue, star spiker Alyssa Valdez led the charge for Customs with 18 markers while Rose Vargas proved worthy of the hype as she chipped in 17 points.
Nonetheless, the impact of Mabbayad and Soriano to the team that has been training for only a month was unmistakeable via their presence at the net.
On having the duo off Philippine Navy bolstering their offense and defense, the mentor closed by saying: “Malaking bagay sila sa team kasi ‘yung experience nandyan na eh. Tapos kakatapos lang din ng AFP Olympics nila so medyo kundisyon ng konti.” — By Mac Dionisio