The Galeries Tower’s arrival not only added flavor to the Premier Volleyball League but also opened a huge opportunity for more players to showcase their wares in the professional ranks.
Veteran wingers Dimdim Pacres and Cherilyn Sindayen expressed their gratitude to the Lerma Giron-mentored Highrisers for a second lease on their volleyball careers.
Pacres, a University of Santo Tomas product, couldn’t help but get emotional relating to what she went through before finally hooking up with the club for her pro debut.
The energetic and often whimsical powerhitter admitted that the last two years had been difficult for her. While most of her former college teammates have signed with PVL clubs, she was left doing jobs outside of the sport she loves.
She was supposed to join Peak Form back in 2021 but the club’s PVL participation did not materialize, putting all her effort to get back in shape and competitive form to waste.
“I’ve waited to return to volleyball for so long. I went through a lot. There were too many expectations but everything just failed. Like in the past two years, many of us here felt that we were scammed. It’s not easy,” a teary-eyed Pacres said.
“We went back to working out expecting to play but it came to a point that we asked ourselves, ‘What’s this for.’”
The 26-year-old Pacres admitted that she went through depression seeing her contemporaries flourish beyond collegiate volleyball and it didn’t help that fans on social media — even with good intentions — asked about when she would return to the court.
“My cousins and my family told me to move on from volleyball because it’s not a long-term (career). Of course, I know it’s not. I told myself, ‘Next year (2023) I’ll move on from volleyball.’ But then February came with the UAAP and the PVL back so again I saw people asking about me on social media and I was again breaking down (emotionally and mentally),” the 2017 Reinforced Conference Best Opposite Spiker said.
“I saw my friends training and playing while I was stuck calling and inquiring about clubs that would like to have me.”
Fortunately, the volleyball door swung wide open for Pacres with a phone call from Giron.
“I thought coach would just ask me to bring her something from Cebu. Actually, I came back to Manila to try out for a different team. In my mind maybe coach Lerma or coach Kungfu (Reyes) would just ask me to go to UST to bring them something but I never thought that a blessing would come to me,” she said.
Sindayen, who hopped to several clubs before focusing on beach volleyball, also thought her indoor volleyball days were over.
“I didn’t expect that I’d be back to indoor volleyball,” the Lyceum of the Philippines University product said as tears welled in her eyes.
The outside hitter bared that it was her friend Roma Joy Doromal who pushed her to join her in the pros.
“I’m really happy about this chance to play indoor (volleyball). I’m thankful and also grateful to coach Lerma and to Galeries for this opportunity. I’m also happy that I get to play with Roms because she’s the one who pushed me to try indoor volleyball again and I’m happy I did,” she said.
Also getting a second chance through the Highrisers are Graze Bombita, who is coming off an anterior cruciate ligament injury that sidelined her for a year, skipper Fhen Emnas and military enlists Anne Esguerra, Andrea Marzan and Audrey Paran.
Galeries Towers gets a baptism of fire on Tuesday against former PVL champion PetroGazz at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.