MANILA Philippines—Mylene Paat is ready to embrace a bigger responsibility for Chery Tiggo as they begin life without Dindin Santiago-Manabat for the first time in six years in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference.
After Manabat decided to part ways with the Crossovers and transferred to the Akari Chargers, the reigning Reinforced Conference MVP said they have to accept that players come and go and focus on what they have in their bid to rise in the first conference, following a failed title retention bid last year.
“As they say, people come and go. But we have newcomers. We just have to accept whoever and whatever we have right now,” said Paat in Filipino.
With Paat leading a young team bannered by Cza Carandang, EJ Laure, Alina Bicar, and new recruit Pauline Gaston, she is not only taking her leadership role as a big challenge but also a blessing.
“Actually, it’s a big challenge for me. But I’m not taking it as a problem or what because [these kinds of challenges] excite me more. Helping more [teammates], more blessings for me,” she said.
The lefty opposite spiker shone in the import-laden Reinforced Conference, leading Chery Tiggo back to the semifinals after back-to-back eighth-place finishes in the first two conferences of 2022.
The Crossovers’ returning coach Aaron Velez was impressed by Paat’s leadership during the season-ending conference last year, hoping the team captain will continue to mature this season with a bigger responsibility.
“She proved herself in the Reinforced Conference. But I think this season her captaincy needs to be deeper and at the same time she has to be more open to her teammates since we have new players,” said Velez, who is also the team manager.
“We are aware that a lot [of people] are expecting from Mylene. And we are here to guide her and teach her to be a consistent leader.”
But Velez stressed their team is not all about Paat as the other Crossovers need to step up, too.
“With the challenges and pressure surrounding our team, I told them that all of us have to be accountable for each role whenever someone is out of focus or struggling. We have to work together as a team,” said Velez. “But our team is doing well so far. They are very coachable and energetic during training. We have to help each other to carry our team this All-Filipino.”
Paat’s leadership will be tested right away as Chery Tiggo opens its All-FIlipino campaign against Cignal on Tuesday at Philsports Arena.
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