After a revamp last year, the Philippine Women’s Sepak Takraw team sees better light in the years ahead.
“We are seeing very good chances for the team to excel, both for men and women’s, in the international arenaaa,” said Philippine women’s sepak takraw team captain Deseree Autor in an interview with The Manila Times on Friday.
The 31-year-old pride of Bulacan became a national team member in 2001 until she resigned in 2012 after migrating to Dubai for work.
However, she returned in the country in 2015 and regained her slot in the national team.
In December 2015, the Philippine Amateur Sepak Takraw Association (PASTA) conducted a try out to scout for new members. Only three senior members were left, including Autor, and the rest are newcomers.
Autor said the adjustment between the old and new players is manageable.
“At first, we had a difficulty since we need to keep an eye on our new players. We were ahead and more experienced than them.
“As a senior player, along with our coach, we were eager to really train them to improve their skills,” she added.
Autor described the improvement as a fast paced learning process since the new members were able to cope up immediately.
“The improvement was fast. The coaches really doubled their time and effort just for them.”
Among their routine to improve each of the players are more on physical training, and strength and conditioning. They also had court drills for agility, spiking, service, and defense.
As the months go by, the team keeps on harnessing their craft as they prepare for their first international stint together.
On October 18, 2016, the team snatched the bronze medal in women’s hoop takraw division of the 2016 King’s Cup in Bangkok, Thailand.
Among the teams they defeated were Myanmar, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, and Japan before they bowed out to Vietnam and powerhouse Thailand.
“We are really happy since our hard work paid off. As a new team like us, it only shows that we can achieve more,” she said.
Autor said that the training will resume on November 7 after holiday break to prepare for the upcoming 2017 Southeast Asian Games which will be held in Malaysia.
“SEA Games is 10 months from now and we don’t want to be complacent that’s why we need to train hard,” she said.
Autor believes that with dedication and passion, the women’s team will attain higher podium finishes and be installed in the ranks of powerhouse teams in the world.
“We are now able to see the level of play of our opponents. We have big chance to win gold medals both for men and women divisions,” Autor stressed.
Autor along with Gelyn Evora and Josefina Maat bagged a bronze medal in the 2016 Asian Beach Games in Vietnam last September.
Autor was also a SEA Games silver medalist in 2005 and bronze medalist in 2007 and 2009 editions.
The national team is now under the tutelage of coach Espiridion Rodriguez, a former national team player.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID