|Michelle Morente, Bea Tan, Amanda Villanueva, Gretchel Soltones and Roger Gorayebat the AVC Continental Cup in Thailand.|
Gretchel Soltones talks about the Philippines’ 5th place Beach Volleyball Finish
by rick olivares pic by roger gorayeb (do not use without permission)
The two Philippine Women’s Beach Volleyball Teams to the Asian Volleyball Confederation Continental Cup (Southeast Asian Zone) at Nong Khai, Thailand, have crashed out. The two squads, Philippines 1 with Gretchel Soltones and Amanda Villanueva, and Philippines 2 featuring Michelle Morente and Bea Tan, lost to their Malaysian counterparts in Day One of the tournament after which they both bowed out with identical wins over Singapore.
The finish, determined also through quotient, saw the Philippines place fifth in a field of six nations.
“Imagine if we had practice before this,” wondered coach Roger Gorayeb after his teams had bowed out. “Kung may ensayo lang mas maganda yung kinalabasan nito.”
The Philippines doesn’t really have a beach volleyball team and the duo earlier tasked to represent the country in the Thailand tilt – Juvelyn Gonzaga and Nene Bautista backed out forcing the quick recruitment of Morente and Tan.
Philippines 1 took the first set against Malaysia 1, 21-11 but were edged out, 19-21 in the crucial second. Malaysia advanced with a third set, 15-10, win.
Philippines 2 also extended the Malaysians to three sets, 21-19, 23-21,15-5.
In the placing round, both Philippines duos respectively took out their Singaporean counterparts, 21-19, 21-19, and 21-14, 21-14.
We took time to chat with Gretchel Soltones, the open spiker for the San Sebastian Lady Stags, after her team’s fifth place finish in the AVC tournament.
Rick Olivares: Is this your first time to represent your country in sporting competition?
Gretchel Soltones: Yes. First time. I was nervous but excited. Tapos first time ko out of the Philippines. Excited.
RO: Your teammate is Amanda Villanueva who plays for Adamson. Were you worried about chemistry issues?
GS: Medyo. Nag-adjust kami sa isa’t isa kasi we never played beach volleyball together. Wala nga kaming training together. Pero good experience. Kaya naman. Siguro kung nakapag-ensayo ng maayos ay mas maganda yung ipapakita. Sana maulit!
RO: I understand you’re from Cebu.
GS: Catmon. Sa north ng Cebu.
RO: So how did you start out with volleyball? Is volleyball big there?
GS: Okay lang. Yung father ko (Marvin Soltones) ang nag-push sa akin maglaro ng volleyball. Siya nagturo sa akin kung paano maglaro before I tried out sa varsity. Sabi niya baka sakali makakuha kami ng scholarship. Nakakuha ako ng Pajo National High School (in Lapu Lapu City, Cebu) tapos nagpunta na ako ng San Sebastian.
RO: That you got.
RO: I understand that when you were recruited by Coach Roger (Gorayeb), you wanted to go to Ateneo. Is there some disappointment that you weren’t able to go?
GS: Gusto ko mag-Ateneo noon. Pero hindi nangyari. Move on na lang. Happy naman ako sa San Sebastian.
RO: Naiisip mo na what it could have been like playing alongside sila Alyssa Valdez?
GS: Hindi naman. Dapat happy ka kung saan ka naglalaro.
RO: Do you think the NCAA doesn’t get the same mileage or press as the UAAP?
GS: Opo! Kasi marami naman din magaling na teams sa NCAA.
RO: And now you have another chance to represent your country in the Asian Women’s Under-23 Championship.
GS: Excited ako for that. Iba rin yung representing your country. Tapos heto na. may chance ako to play with many of the best players sa country. May ibang players diyan gusto ko rin makasama sa court.