With major changes in its coaching staff and player roster earlier this year, the BanKo Perlas are preparing more extensively for the Premier Volleyball League.
“It is a transition year for us since we have a new coach and new team members,” said Nicole Tiamzon, Team Captain of the BanKo Perlas, on the sidelines of the PVL Grand Fans Day.
“We are really trying hard to give our best because this season is going to last a while. Actually, it will run for six months, so every day of training is really important for us. In the previous year, we tried training twice a day. We trained for two and a half hours or three hours maximum. Now, we extended our training. One hour before training, we already start to visualize what’s going to happen in the training,” Tiamzon added.
For this year, the former coach of Thailand’s Women’s Volleyball Team, Apichat Kongsawat, took on the challenge of leading the BanKo Perlas. The veteran coach first began his career in volleyball as a player in Bangkok Bang Club when he was 15 years old, and eventually in National Thailand Team from 1991 to 1994. With years of proven experience, Kongsawat had his chance to serve as assistant coach to Bangkok Bank and National Youth World Championship, both for Men’s and Women’s divisions, among others. He also served as the head coach of collegiate and professional volleyball teams in Thailand and Vietnam. Just last year, he became the head coach of renowned Indonesian volleyball team PGN Popsivo Polwan.
In his first season as head coach, Kongsawat said he is optimistic about BanKo Perlas’ chances.
“The team really gives their 100 percent in training. They are very keen to learn and succeed this year. I believe in their common desire to reach their goal to have a strong finish this season,” Kongsawat said.
He added that success on the court takes teamwork, communication, and a full grasp of the strategies in volleyball. “We should know how to win, and we should know how to lose, and then prepare how to get better,” he said.
In addition to Kongsawat, returning American import Lakia Bright and Turkish import Yasemin Yildirim will also be joining the team in the new PVL season.
On the part of BanKo, the microfinance arm of Bank of the Philippine Islands, it has reinforced its commitment to support the volleyball team.
“The BanKo Perlas know what they have to do to win, and we admire them for their drive and willingness to do the hard work. They do this for their fans, who come mostly from the grassroots. In a similar way, BanKo reaches out to the grassroots by making financial services more accessible to the underserved, especially now that we aim to be the most financially inclusive digital bank. We hope to continue working with Perlas to make a difference in the lives of our fellow Filipinos through sports and financial services,” said BanKo President Jerome Minglana.
The BanKo Perlas were to battle it out in the PVL Reinforced Conference against PetroGazz Angels yesterday, against Balipure Water Defenders on June 1 and against Creamline Cool Smashers on June 3.
Recently, the BanKo Perlas, together with fellow volleyball enthusiasts, took part in exciting games and activities during the PVL Grand Fans Day recently held at the Trinoma Activity Center.
Tiamzon said the event was a great opportunity for members of the team to let their hair down and enjoy the day with fans, some of whom even flew in from different parts of the Philippines just to see their idols.
“What people see on the court is very different. The Grand Fans Day was a memorable day both for us and all those who took the effort to come and see the players. It was like a bonding moment among the team members as well,” Tiamzon said.