Petro Gazz' Grethcel Soltones: Spreading her wings
MANILA, Philippines – In the midst of this enhanced quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, volleyball player Grethcel Soltones has had much time to do a little thinking. How the world will change post-lockdown is anyone’s guess. But for Soltones, change began right before the lockdown and it has given her pause to reflect on her life’s changes.
For eight years, Soltones has played for her longtime volleyball coach Roger Gorayeb — first for the San Sebastian Lady Stags and then for PLDT, BaliPure, PayMaya and the national team. Most recently, she joined the Petro Gazz Angels.
She has stepped outside her comfort zone.
“The decision to transfer away wasn’t easy,” attested Soltones. “Coach Roger taught me, nurtured me not only as a volleyball player, but also as a person. I felt it was time to grow separately.”
Soltones isn’t the only former Gorayeb player to move to Petro Gazz. Joining the Angles is Jerrili Malabanan. While Malabanan played for Far Eastern University in the UAAP and not for the Lady Stags in the NCAA, she suited up for Coach Roger’s BaliPure, PayMaya, and PLDT squads.
“Of course, it is frightening to leave your father figure, but moving teams is for me to learn to stand up on my own,” further elucidated Soltones. “It was a difficult decision, but I love him and hope to make him proud.”
Before Soltones can take the proper volleyball court as a member of the Angels, there’s the quarantine to deal with. She admits to not being through anything this anxious and frightening. However, like anything else, will only make her tougher mentally and emotionally.
She has experience to draw upon that.
She also recalled playing for Gorayeb and Tai Bundit on the national team with their three practices a day. “That is where I learned who I was as a player,” she added. “It was difficult, but I discovered who I was. And knowing that time, it’s time to spread my wings.”
The current lockdown finds Soltones and her Angels teammates training and practicing on their own. She admitted to at times being frustrated by the lockdown, but clarified that “it is in everyone’s best interests.”
“Aside from my home workouts, I get to spend time with my dogs (named Thor, Madison, and Damon).”
“You learn not to take anything for granted,” Soltones summed up.