Army coach on five-set showdown with Choco Mucho: “Paramihan lang kami ng bala”

When the Pacifictown Army Lady Troopers lost grip of the stretched opening salvo and the set after that against a younger Choco Mucho squad, head coach Kungfu Reyes didn’t hide his concern.

After all, he knew that long games are not the forte of his veteran-laden team. With their backs against the wall in what turned out to be a game of endurance, the Lady Troopers knew there was only one way to end the game—take the win in five sets.

So Reyes started devising for his art of war.

“Alam mo naman na ito ‘yung pinakahate namin: na mag-five sets. Eventually, first two sets, in-evaluate namin—so ginawa namin nung third set, binaba namin ‘yung tempo namin. Tayo magco-control ng pace ng game,” Reyes said.

Playing as planned, Pacifictown Army successfully pulled off a valiant comeback against the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in five sets, 39-41, 19-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-12, earlier in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

In a physically demanding game that lasted for three hours, the Lady Troopers showed character and experience as they came back from two sets down to take the win.

Jovelyn Gonzaga led Pacifictown Army with 24 points atop a triple-double performance, while Honey Royse Tubino chipped in 21 points.

The Lady Troopers started the opening set on a good note, leading early over the Flying Titans. However, Choco Mucho inched back and took the set to what turned out to be an error-plagued and rally-filled extension, eventually ended by an ace by Kat Tolentino.

After dropping the first frame, Pacifictown Army couldn’t seem to take hold of the momentum as the Flying Titans cruised along to take a two-set advantage.

Evaluating his team’s performance in the first two sets, Reyes reminded his team to establish the game’s pace in their favor, as they continued to face disadvantage whenever their younger opponents took the driver’s seat.

“Pinilit namin na mangayaw ‘yung mga bata sa amin—iyon lang ‘yung ginawa namin, na pabagalin yung laro. Kasi kapag sumabay kami sa bilis nila, maiiwan kami sa dulo,” the head coach said.

True enough, the Lady Troopers gained their rhythm back as they mounted stronger wins in the next two sets to take the match to a winner-take-all set.

Showing their experience, Pacifictown Army held on in the fifth with Gonzaga and Tubino providing the one-two punch to snatch the victory and keep their records unblemished at 2-0.

In what could have been dangerous waters for his relatively older squad, Reyes was happy to see his players overcome their struggle in extended games both mentally and physically. In a tightly-contested match, it all boiled down to good coaching.

“Padamihan lang kami ng bala. Pagandahan lang kami ng laro—sa kanila na ‘yung first two sets pero dadahan-dahanin namin sila,” Reyes said.

 

“Ang art of war namin: slowly but surely. Sumabay kami nung una e, talagang nakipagpukpukan kami, pero kita mo naman na kaya naming sumabay,” the head coach ended.

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