Cuban spiker to beef up Smart in PSL

By Voltaire Mendoza

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A powerful spiker who can easily shift from the opposite to the middle position, Gyselle Silva is known for her quick hits and deadly jump serves. | Photo from FIVB.com

MANILA, Philippines – A member of the Cuban national team is set to arrive to power new club Smart in its quest for glory in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix starting February 17.

Gyselle Silva will be arriving any time next week to join Smart as it wages war against seven other teams bannered by reigning champion F2 Logistics and powerhouse Petron.

A powerful spiker who can easily shift from the opposite to the middle position, the 26-year-old Silva is known for her quick hits and deadly jump serves.

She competed with the Cuban national team in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan in 2010 and the Pan American Games in Mexico in 2011.

She also competed for various clubs in Cuba, Turkey, China and Azerbaijan, where she powered Rabita Baku to the title of the Azerbaijan Superleague in 2014 and 2015.

Smart head coach Ronald Dulay beamed happiness over the hiring of Silva, saying that she would definitely hit the ground running against other quality imports like Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley of Petron, Sara Klisura of Cocolife and Katarina Pilepic of Generika-Ayala.

“We’re very impressed with her credentials,” said Dulay, adding that Cuba had already produced a lot of quality talents, including three-time Olympic gold medalist Regla Bell, who played for the country at the tailend of her career in 2014.

Dulay added that they are already moving very close to reaching an agreement with an open hitter from Serbia.

The spiker is highly recommended by Cocolife coach Moro Branislav and could give fellow Serbian Klisura a serious run for her money in the tourney that is slowly shaping into a display of talent, skills and firepower.

A solid cast of local players would be tapped to back up the two imports.

The roster, however, would be finalized in a crucial meeting Thursday night.

“We have to rush things up because the PSL requires all teams to submit their final lineup tomorrow (Friday),” said Dulay, who will be assisted by legendary Nene Ybanez-Chavez.

“I am confident that we have assembled a very strong team. We’re looking forward to a successful debut season in the PSL.”

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