international volleyball

Kalei Mau on playing overseas: ‘Glad that I made that decision’

Leigh Nald Cabildo
Kalei Mau on playing overseas: ‘Glad that I made that decision’

SCORING LEADER. Kalei Mau leads Choco Mucho's attack and scores a game-high of 20 points against sister team Rebisco in the 2021 Asian Club Volleyball Championships.

Asian Volleyball Confederation

The Fil-Hawaiian talks of her experience playing for the Puerto Rican pro team Las Changas de Naranjito, while waiting for the return of the competitive scene in the country

For Kalei Mau, playing overseas during the pandemic was the right move.

Back in April, the Fil-Hawaiian hitter decided to sign and play for the Puerto Rican pro team Las Changas de Naranjito, while waiting for the return of the competitive scene in the country.

“It was a good environment for me to be in during the time [of pandemic] instead of me waiting around and hoping that the competition in the Philippines will get back. I’m really glad that I made that decision,” said Mau in an episode of Rappler Talk on Tuesday, October 19.

“It’s such a high level of volleyball there [in Puerto Rico]. You have no choice but to get better.”

After her two-month stint in Puerto Rico, Mau flew straight to Thailand to join the national team. Despite all the challenges before the tournament, the 26-year old’s international debut for the Philippines was positive.

Mau’s leadership was vital for team Choco Mucho’s campaign in the 2021 Asian Volleyball Club Championship that was held last October 1 to 7 at Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

“It was really tough,” Mau said. “I missed out on a lot of training and I actually didn’t meet the team until I had my first game.” 

“There were a lot of challenges but it was a good experience and I’m glad that I was able to compete and represent the country.”

Mau posted a game-high 20 points against their sister team Rebisco to bag the lone victory of the sixth-placed Choco Mucho in the tournament.

Although Mau was away from the national team training, her experience from competing overseas provided enough spark for her team.

“When my season in Puerto Rico is coming to an end, I was able to shift my mindset to bring good for the national team,” she said. 

“I was really happy to bring back that level of competition to Asia and contribute to the team the way that I did. I brought my competitive nature back to the Philippines, back to these girls that I love to push, give energy to, and help get better.”

Mau is currently inside the bubble training camp of her team F2 Logistics and will suit up for the upcoming Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League in November. – Rappler.com