GRETHCEL Soltones could have been a two-time NCAA women’s volleyball champion if not for near misses.
In her rookie year for San Sebastian, Soltones had a chance of winning a championship - even without coach Roger Gorayeb who was suspended in the 2012-13 season - but fell short as the Lady Stags lost setter Bamcie Belen to injury and eventually bowed to University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in the best-of-three championship series which went into full route.
The most painful for Soltones was last season when San Sebastian squandered a tremendous thrice-to-beat advantage, losing to College of Saint Benilde in Finals series that went into four games in one of the biggest reversals in the league’s 92-year history.
This year, the Lady Stags are back in the title round after sweeping the nine-game eliminations for the second straight season.
For Soltones, this is her one final stab to get the only missing trophy in her colorful collegiate career.
“Kakalimutan ko na ‘tong elimination round. Sa finals (na ang isip ko), na syempre masakit ‘yung apat na taon na hindi nanalo ang saklap nun,” said Soltones, who is tipped to win her third straight season MVP award.
As the step-ladder semis will only start tomorrow and San Sebastian will only play on Feb. 7 at the earliest, Soltones is focusing on how to get better during the team’s long break while waiting for its championship opponent.
“Magpapakamatay ako sa training lalo na sa game basta iniisip ko ngayon nothing to lose na ko,” said Soltones.
“Totoo kasi wala namang advantage eh. Kasi may advantage din ‘yung kalaban twice-to-beat sila so wala patas lang. So ‘yung mindset namin dapat hindi ganun kasi baka magre-relax na naman kami hindi naman dapat.”
The search for the Lady Stags’ Finals opponent will begin tomorrow, with the Lady Blazers and San Beda clash in a do-or-die match, where the winner will next face the twice-to-beat Arellano University on Friday.
Meanwhile, Soltones is just wishing all the best to end her NCAA career as a winner.