Chery Tiggo releases Maika Ortiz and six others as part of a comprehensive reconstruction

Aug 25, 2022

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MANILA, Philippines – Prior to the October Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference, Chery Tiggo released Maika Ortiz and six other players. Maika Ortiz of Chery Tiggo attempts to score against PetroGazz during the 2022 PVL Invitational Conference.

On a recent social media post by the sensational volleyball athlete, Tiggo wrote: “In every spike, every set, every dig, you’ve been there, Crossovers. Your Chery Tiggo Crossovers family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts. Our memories together are forever cherished,” and also says “Good luck in your future endeavors! We’re rooting for you!”

The Crossovers also made an announcement on Tuesday, saying they would completely overhaul its staff, administration, and coaching staff. Here is the statement: “This is a required course of action in strengthening the overall team composition, enhancing the chemistry among the coaches, players, and staff; and developing new techniques and strategies in winning that championship again.”

Among the seven players parting ways with the team, Ortiz is the longest-tenured player, having been with the team in 2016 and playing instrumental in Chery Tiggo’s first PVL championship in the 2021 Open Conference in Ilocos Norte.

Chery Tiggo head coach Clarence Esteban echoed the team’s decision to let go of some of their players, revealing that they already recruited newcomers, mostly from the collegiate, but he refused to name the said incoming rookies in the Reinforced Conference.

“We are rebuilding the team, which we think will be good for us to rise to the top once again,” said Esteban (translated from Filipino) during the Shakey’s Super League launch on Tuesday. “We will not remove players if we don’t have replacements. It will be a bit challenging for us because most of them are from the collegiate level.”

Chery Tiggo, who has won the nation’s first pro volleyball championship, finished eighth in back-to-back conferences after losing in the quarterfinals of the Open Conference and failing to go past the semifinals of the recently finished Invitational Conference.

Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Mylene Paat, Jasmine Nabor, May Luna, Shaya Adorador, EJ Laure, Alina Bica, Buding Duremdes, Czarina Carandang, and Jaja Santiago—who is presently in Japan—are the remaining members of the Crossovers.

For the Reinforced Conference, according to Esteban, they are still looking for an import, specifically a wing spiker.

In turn, since this change, Mylene Paat accepts the challenge of leading Chery Tiggo.  For Chery Tiggo in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference in October, Mylene Paat promises to lead more effectively. 

In their four-set loss against Creamline on Thursday at San Juan Arena, Paat said after scoring 15 points, “I’m embracing a new role and taking on a new challenge in this conference: being a leader inside and outside the court. I have to lead my teammates through words, through action, motivate them and lead by example on how I perform.” (translated from Filipino)

When the team’s main players started to be injured one by one, the veteran wing spiker had to step up and take the pressure off the others.

Days before the midseason opener, Dindin Santiago-Manabat suffered a grade 3 ankle sprain that pulled her out of the tournament, while EJ Laure, Alina Bicar, Justine Dorog, and Buding Duremdes missed their first two games because of health and safety regulations.

Prior to the comeback of Bicar and Company against Petro Gazz in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, the Crossovers had dropped their first three games. In their final two games, they lost to Army Black Mamba and Creamline, finishing with a 1 – 5 record.

“I’m very proud of everyone because we really helped each other. We kept on fighting despite playing with a depleted roster to start the tournament,” she mentions confidently. “This conference we saw players like May (Luna) and Cza Carandang step up. I’ve been observing them in our practices. Hopefully, they can sustain it for the next conference.”

For the season-ending conference against international players who are returning to the league after a three-year absence, the Adamson standout places a high value on defense, receiving, and attacking.

After a busy few months that included representing the nation in the 31st Southeast Asian Games and recovering from COVID-19 before competing in the Invitationals, Paat will make the most of her overdue break to spend time with her family in her homeland Pangasinan.

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