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Paat groomed for bigger role

‘I think expectations are high for Mylene. So right now, we’re guiding her on how to be consistent as a leader.’

Mylene Paat will not only be Chery Tiggo’s go-to woman on offense but will also play a bigger role when the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference comes off the wraps next week.

Newly-reinstated head coach Aaron Velez is grooming the reigning Reinforced Conference Most Valuable Player as the Crossovers’ leader on and off the court following the departure of veteran Dindin Santiago-Manabat.

“I think expectations are high for Mylene. So right now, we’re guiding her on how to be consistent as a leader,” Velez, who took over the coaching reins from Clarence Esteban with hopes of once again weaving his magic to replicate Chery Tiggo’s 2021 Open Conference conquest, said.

Paat was named team captain during last year’s import-laden conference after the club released Maika Ortiz, who was the Crossovers’ skipper in the Invitational Conference.

“She was quick to adapt as captain when we gave her that role under Coach. She embraced that role and I think that’s a good sign as a player,” Velez said.

The mentor, however, pointed out that she would have to show more maturity in guiding the team in the right direction as one of the more experienced players in the revamped Chery Tiggo roster.

Paat will be guiding newcomers Ponggay Gaston, Seth Rodriguez and Bingle Landicho to establish team chemistry with other key holdovers Cza Carandang, EJ Laure, Shaya Adorador, Roselle Baliton, Jasmine Nabor and Buding Duremdes.

“She has to focus more as captain ball and at the same time be more open to her teammates, especially that we have new players coming in,” the mentor said.

Paat averaged 18.5 points per game in the last tournament where Chery Tiggo landed fourth after disappointing finishes in the Open and Invitational conferences.

“Definitely she’ll still be our go-to-person or ace player. On top of that, she’s also going to be our medium or I’d our [coaching staff] bridge to her teammates. So, she’ll play multiple roles,” the mentor continued.

Velez also pointed out some concerns about Paat’s conditioning heading into the new season of the first and only professional women’s volleyball league in the country.

“Actually, we’re watching over her health as she has not yet fully recovered from the last tournament. She had little rest,” he said.

He, however, clarified that Paat just needs rest.

“It’s just fatigue. Based on our rehab, I think she’s around 85 percent (to full recovery). There’s no serious health concern but we’re forecasting that she’ll perform well from start until the end,” Velez said.

“We all know Mylene pours her all during games, it’s just a matter of how she will sustain it.”

The Crossovers begin their campaign against Reinforced Conference runner-up Cignal on 7 February at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

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