Step­ping up to the plate BULLS 114, THUN­DER 112 GRIZZLIES 107, HEAT 115, KINGS 129, CAVA­LIERS 110

Cebu Daily News - - SPORTS - COR­RE­SPON­DENT n spite of be­ing a rookie on a squad filled with some of the coun­try’s most renowned vol­ley­ball play­ers, Cream­line’s Ce­buana spiker Paula Mar ie Man­i­nang­has­made a good ac­count of her­self in her cham­pi­onship run with the Cool Smash­ers in the

Ce­buana Pau Man­i­nang ris­ing to the oc­ca­sion in rookie year with Cream­line Cool Smash­ers

IThe Cool Smash­ers ral­lied from a six-point hole in the open­ing set and suc­cess­fully quashed Ate­neo-Mo­to­lite’s re­peated come­back at­tempts to carve a mas­ter­ful 25-20, 2520, 25-15, win for the fran­chise’s sec­ond straight crown.

Man­i­nang, who plays mid­dle blocker, is in her first year play­ing for Cream­line af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Univer­sity of San Jose-Reco­le­tos (USJ-R).

She says the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence has been an eye-opener for her.

“Be­ing a new­bie in the Manila scene, it is a great op­por­tu­nity to train and be­come team­mates with the big­gest names in the in­dus­try,” the 20-year-old Ce­buana said. “At first, I was re­ally starstruck with my team­mates es­pe­cially Alyssa Valdez. But now, we are al­ready com­fort­able with all the members of the team.”

She added that in spite of Valdez’s stature as the best vol­ley­ball player in the coun­try, she has not acted the part and re­mains very hum­ble and giv­ing of her time.

“For me as a new­bie, she con­stantly mo­ti­vates me and I ap­pre­ci­ate how she gives tips to me and even to other team­mate­sand­how­she­leads the team,” Man­i­nang added.

Play­ing in the PVL has not been with­out its fair share of chal­lenges for the daugh­ter of lo­cal bas­ket­ball great, Paul Man­i­nang, but she has taken all of it in stride.

“The pro­fes­sional set­ting is very new to me. Also, from the col­lege league go­ing into the pro­fes­sional league, the mind­set is al­ready dif­fer­ent be­cause this is a new level of com­pe­ti­tion and I have to step up my game. I am now faced with faster and much taller op­po­nents, that’s why I have to ob­serve these and cope dur­ing train­ing with ex­tra work and de­ter­mi­na­tion,” said Man­i­nang.

Homesick

The comely Ce­buana also shares that she takes in­spi­ra­tion and strength from her fam­ily, es­pe­cially her dad, who has been noth­ing short of sup­port­ive in her vol­ley­ball jour­ney.

“My dad has al­ways been my num­ber 1 coach. But now, he is sick and I just wish I could take care of him. But he told me that I should pur­sue in play­ing for Cream­line and just keep in mind that ev­ery time I play, I am mak­ing him proud,” she said. “My fam­ily’s se­cret is that with con­stant prayer and a strong faith in God, we will never feel alone and we know that He will take care of me and my fam­ily even in our dark­est days. It all goes back to Him!”

HORNETS 113, NUGGETS 107 PELICANS 103 SUNS 98 PACERS 112, MAGIC 90

There are also teams com­ing from out of town such as Bayawan and Ba­colod.

The tour­na­ment will fol­low the plate fi­nal for­mat which means that teams who end up in the lower ranks will not go home empty-handed as they will have a bracket of their own wherein they will also hold their own semi­fi­nals and fi­nals.

Aside from free reg­is­tra­tion, teams will also get jer­seys, lunch and to­kens.

It is or­ga­nized and hosted by FundLife, a lo­cally-based or­ga­ni­za­tion founded af­ter Typhoon Yolanda, and its part­ner here in Cebu, the Giuseppe Foot­ball Club, and car­ries the theme “We are all ONE”.

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