MANILA, Philippines — Acari had three-time Olympian Priscilla Rivera of the Dominican Republic by her side as she paraded her young players in their first tournament in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference last year.
With Mama Press on board, the Chargers will now rely on a new leader in Dundon Santiago-Manabat, who decided to make a fresh start with a young squad ahead of the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference.
The star wing spiker has become accustomed to having experienced teammates with his former club Cheri Tagore such as Mylene Potts. But playing for a new and smaller team adds more excitement for ‘Mama D’ to lead her teammates like Trisha Genesis, Licha Ebon, Michelle Cobb, Jaja Maragunte, Erika Ragas, and Dani Rowena.
“I will be a mother and eat. [to my teammates]Manabit said in Filipino. “Genesis calls me Mama D because he got used to calling me. [Pris Rivera] Like their Mama Fairy. That’s why they call me Mama D because I will be the new mama of the team.
Playing for a new team for the first time in six years, the 29-year-old Manabit said her game remains the same but hopes to be more patient in leading her young teammates.
“Mama D is a fighter. Nothing new to fight, more to smile. I hope I can change my shyness, of course there are many children in my team mates so I think Mama D smiles more now. have been,” said the multi-award-winning spiker, who brings her experience from international leagues while playing for Japan V. .League with Toray Arrows in 2018 and Kurobe AquaFairies in 2019 as well as Volleyball Thailand League with Nakhon Ratchasima in early 2022.
[They will see the same fighter Mama D. But I’ll try my best to avoid frowning [during the game]. I will smile more for my young colleagues.]
After a few training sessions and signing his contract last week, the 6-foot-2 spiker already felt at home as the Chargers welcomed him and treated him like family.
“It’s fun to be with my younger teammates. I don’t feel pressured to play with them and I also learn a lot of new things from them, especially their experience with Mama Purse,” Manabit said. “It’s easy to get along with them,” he said. Even after our training, they still have a lot of energy. Our contact is there. And communication is key for us. [this season]”
Manabat is also reuniting with Philippine women’s volleyball team coach Jorge Souza de Brito after playing under him at the 2021 AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima.
“I don’t know yet if I’ll play opposite or open. But I’m ready for any position coach George wants me to play,” he said.
“It’s not hard to play under Coach George. He’s approachable and he always makes sure his players are healthy like, ‘How are you?’ He keeps reminding us to tell him immediately when we feel pain. He is really concerned when it comes to health. He shakes hands with everyone.”
Last season, the former National University stalwart led the way for the crossovers at last year’s Open Conference but suffered an ankle injury that forced her to miss the entire Invitational and the Reinforced Conference. was playing sparingly, where she also engaged in health and safety protocols that caused her to miss some games.
Manabit doesn’t want to speculate on his recovery as he wants to let his game do the talking after making his debut as an Akari Charger in the 2023 All-Filipino Conference starting on February 4.
“I don’t want to say I’m 100 percent yet. [healthy] Because I want my game to answer that question. Let’s wait for the season to start and you be the judge if I’m 80 or 70 percent fully recovered,” she said. “I don’t want to put pressure on myself and set expectations.”
The veteran spiker is in contention for his new team, which finished eighth in its first PVL tournament, winning three of its eight matches last year, including Rivera’s five-set victory against Choco Mocho. A record 44 points and a four-set contest are also included. That broke F2 Logistics’ semi-final bid.
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