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Emotional Alyssa Valdez wishes good health to old coach Roger Gorayeb after PVL reunion

JR Isaga

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Emotional Alyssa Valdez wishes good health to old coach Roger Gorayeb after PVL reunion

INSEPARABLE. Creamline spiker Alyssa Valdez and Capital1 coach Roger Gorayeb in the 2024 PVL All-Filipino Conference

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Former Ateneo spiker and coach tandem Alyssa Valdez and the recovered Roger Gorayeb exchange kind words after their first PVL encounter in three years

MANILA, Philippines – Volleyball phenom Alyssa Valdez has been under many coaches in her illustrious career, but one in particular will always have a special place in her heart: the legendary Roger Gorayeb.

Valdez’s mentor in her formative career years with the champion Ateneo Lady Eagles, the multi-titled Gorayeb has scaled stiff personal mountains in the last few years regarding his health, but has since recovered and is back in the PVL with the upstart Capital1 Solar Spikers.

After three years away from each other, Valdez and Gorayeb finally crossed paths again on the taraflex as Creamline swept Capital1, 25-18, 25-14, 25-15, on Thursday, March 21, at the Araneta Coliseum.

Asked about their interaction after the Cool Smashers’ bounce-back win, Valdez went through a wave of emotions, first cracking a wide smile before her voice cracked and gave away a heavier feeling beneath.

“It’s always nice to go up against your former coaches because you want to show them how you improved,” she said in Filipino. “For me, being able to go up against coach Roger in today’s game, it’s overwhelming because I know what he has gone through to get back here.”

“I’m very, very excited to see where else his team can go and how far coach Roger can still go in the volleyball community as one of the longest tenured coaches we have. Coach, stay strong and stay healthy.”

Ever the heated competitor, Gorayeb needed a moment to cool down from the Solar Spikers’ fifth loss before indulging an interview and returning her star ward’s kind words.

“I’m happy even though I don’t really want to keep thinking about my old players. I’m happy for them that they are hustling still in their careers,” he said in Filipino.

“I greeted my old players (Valdez, Ella de Jesus) before the game. They told me, ‘Coach, don’t be stressed, that’s bad for you.’ So I told them, ‘Don’t play then!'” Gorayeb joked. “But I’m happy that’s all. We keep moving on.”

Safe to say, the Philippine volleyball community is united in hoping Gorayeb continues to fire up more generations of players for years to come.

Without a Roger Gorayeb, there would be no Alyssa Valdez to usher the game’s golden age in the country, plain and simple. –

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