The Gorayeb Curse

It cannot be denied that Roger Gorayeb has multiple Volleyball championships under his name in the NCAA. He handled Ateneo Lady Eagles and led them to finals appearances in the UAAP. He was also head coach of PLDT Volleyball Teams in both Shakey’s V-League (SVL) and Philippine Superliga (PSL). He coached the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team at the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. And currently, he is handling two collegiate teams: NU Lady Bulldogs in the UAAP and San Sebastian Lady Stags in the NCAA. Surely, this man is a legend in Philippine Volleyball. He has achieved a lot compared to his contemporaries.

Gorayeb’s worried face

Sure, Gorayeb was successful in the NCAA (last championship of SSC-R in 2010-2011 season) and in the club circuit in 2015 he led PLDT to twin championships in SVL 12th Season. However, one can’t help but wonder if there is such a thing as “The Gorayeb Curse” because of the way his teams have failed at some point.

  1. He first joined Ateneo as head coach in Season 70 but was only able to bring them to the Finals in Season 74 and 75. And in those two finals appearances, Ateneo lost. Young, inexperienced, lack of championship heart were the reasons offered by some pundits. They were simply overpowered by DLSU Lady Spikers in every respect.
  2. In 2013 PSL Grand Prix, PLDT swept the classification stage with a 5-0 tally only to lose in the semis to Cignal in 5 sets. Backstopped by Americans Savannah Noyes and Kaylee Manns, the PLDT Power Attackers were poised to barge into the Finals but ended up short in the 5th frame, 14-16. Something about mental collapse by Gorayeb’s wards that made them settle for the 3rd place classification match. The PLDT girls salvaged a bronze medal with a 3 set win over Cagayan Lady Rising Suns.
  3. Gorayeb was appointed head coach for the Philippine Women’s Volleyball Team that saw action in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. The team failed to enter the crossover stage after winning over Malaysia yet losing to Indonesia and Vietnam in the pool stage. They settled for 5th place, far from the podium finish they have targeted prior to joining the SEA Games.
  4. Probably the biggest shocker in Gorayeb’s coaching career is how the San Sebastian Lady Stags swept the eliminations in both Seasons 91 and 92, earning a thrice-to-beat advantage in the finals, yet failed to bring home the championship in both instances. Volleyball fans were joking he really had to outdo Coach Ramil in scrambling a thrice-to-beat advantage by doing it twice.
  5. Rhea Ramirez tried out for the San Sebastian Lady Stags but was told by Coach Gorayeb that she was too small. So she packed her bags, tried out for a different team and went on to become the setter for Arellano Lady Chiefs in Season 92. She was instrumental in the win of Arellano over Baste. Talk about poetic justice?
  6. NU Lady Bulldogs in UAAP Season 79 is one of the most feared teams having a matured Jaja Santiago in their line up. Fresh from a championship with Foton in 2016 PSL Grand Prix, she’s the player to watch out for. True enough, she’s currently ranked 1 in most departments yet this was not enough to carry the team. The Lady Bulldogs fail at teamwork. As of Feb. 25, they have 3-2 win loss record sitting at 4th place. If Gorayeb cannot address his team’s defense problems (7th digging and 8th receiving) then expect NU to bow down of this competition sooner than later.
Jaja praying for defense to show up in their game

Some of his former wards and current players are saying he’s a good man and coach, a father-figure even. No question about that. But his past involvements in scuffles with a game referee and Perpetual basketball team are indication, he should learn to keep his cool. It’s probably his lack of cool that rub off on any team that he’s handled. His players can’t keep their composure when playing.

And why did he call NU libero this: “HOY LIBERO” in one huddle? She has a name – Gayle Valdez. Unless, he really doesn’t know his players well. There are speculations he’s not always training or coaching them because of other commitments. If that’s the case, then it’s no surprise he calls them by their position.

The other Valdez in the UAAP and her name is Gayle Valdez

The speculated “Gorayeb Curse” may not be true at all but he needs to get his act together so people will not wonder no more if indeed his coaching style and behavior affect the way his teams are playing.

Images by Leo Lopez, Rave Sengco, and Noel Monzales. Thank you Volleyball PH

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