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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Foton imports enjoying their PH stint

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FOTON may not  be at  the  top of  the standings in  the  on-going Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix volleyball  tournament, a  situation  that the pair  of American imports, returnee Lindsay Stalzer and Kathy Messing, a first-timer here, are looking  to  remedy and  in  their last  two games.

True enough, the Tornadoes posted back-to-back wins  in  straight sets against RC Cola and erstwhile pacesetter Cignal to even its record at 3-3, but outside  the  court,  these  two are  enjoying  their  stint in the country.

American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Kathy Messing join hands to foil a smash from the opposing team.

According  to the 31-year-old  Stalzer,  who  has been  playing  in  Europe  the last  eight years, the  fact  that  the  volleyball season  here  is  short  at  around  three months maximum, was a major factor  for  her  decision  to  return.

“In Europe, seasons are long,  about 8 to 9 months and  at  31,  I  am  not  as  young  as  I  used  to  be. Here, it’s shorter and that  is one of  the attractions  for me. Also,  here,  there  is  that  fun  element  in  playing.  In other places,  it  is  a  lot of serious work, non-stop training and playing. Filipino fans are also very caring, very  welcoming and helpful, they are super-encouraging and  it  is  so  easy  to gain fans here,”  said  Stalzer, who  has  had the opportunity  to  visit several tourist destinations here.

“I have  experienced whale watching in Cebu, visited the Hundred Islands, saw Vigan already, and of  course  the tiangges in Greenhills. I  want  to go  to Puerto Princesa in Palawan  this  time,” added the pretty Stalzer.

For Messing, 23, this is her  first stint as an import. She specified  to  her  agent  that  she wanted  to  play  in  a tournament,  where  she  will  have  some  fun, too, and having  heard  that women’s volleyball is  a  growing  sport here, she chose to play here. And just before she  left  for  the Philippines, she  bumped into Stalzer in  an  airport in  the States  and was  surprised  to  learn  and they were  going to play for the same team in the same league. Right there, she learned a lot about what to expect in the Superliga, and her new teammate.

“I  enjoy the crowd involvement here,  fans are very supportive. My teammates are  fun to play with, they balance hard work with fun,  sometimes  they  are  not  serious and we all have fun while training. Like Lindsay, I  want  to enjoy  the  outdoors, I  want  to  surf, go  up the mountains, see  the big whales Lindsay  saw, visit  places where I  can  learn local culture. Overall, it  is  better  than I expected here,” said Messing.

Talking  about the game, Stalzer describes  the level of volleyball here  as Division II category in the United States. “Your players have the skills and the work ethics. What  they lack is  the  size. For our team, I  expect us  to be in  the  finals with Cignal and Petron as  the top opponents.”

“With Petron, we know  we can play  at  their level and  we  will  get  them  next  time. For Cignal, we  need  to  adjust to  their  strengths and weaknesses, a championship will be  a very nice Christmas gift  for me,” said Messing, who has been described  by teammates  as  the more fun-loving one. She  says given the chance,  she  would like  to play again here in the future.

Both Lindsay and Messing  respond  to  fans  on social media,  but  kidded  that they do so “only to  those  who  say nice  things,” said Messing.

 

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