HARD WORK and perseverance have starting to pay off for Cherilyn Sindayen.
Having found a home in the Perlas Spikers where she came aboard in last season's PVL Open Conference, Sindayen is cherishing the opportunity to play alongside the club's top guns Nicole Tiamzon and Dzi Gervacio.
"Aside from Smart (her previous club), ito ang team na nasalihan ko na family talaga, and they are very professional pero di mo mapi-feel na left out ka. Siyempre sobrang sarap sa feeling na ibang mga players na naman na pinapanuod mo lang dati sa TV, makakasama ko na sa training ngayon and ganoon pala sila talaga pag nakilala mo na," said Sindayen.
"Sobrang babait nila to the point na madadala ka nila sa lakas and standards nila, they are willing to help you to improve. I stayed kasi I deserve a feeling of having peace in my heart while playing volleyball. And I see coach Apichat (Kongsawat) as coach Emil (Lontoc), halos parehas sila hehe," she added.
"Lahat po sila sobrang bait, I swear, lalo na my twinny ate Charo (Soriano, team manager)."
In the NCAA, Sindayen suited up for Lyceum of the Philippines University, where she earned a BSBA Major in Management Accounting degree last year.
Playing under Lontoc, who at age 70, remains sharp as ever in coaching and training athletes, Sindayen was grateful and thankful, as the long-time Lady Pirates coach molded her on and off the court.
"Coach Emil, life changing. Since 14, 15 yrs old ata nakay coach Emil ako kaya sakanya talaga na-hone yung skills ko at kung paano ako mag-decision sa life. Kung hindi dahil sa kanya, hindi ko makilala si Lord," said Sindayen on Lontoc, who is also as Pastor.
"Imagine nalang that type of coaching na never gets tired of you kahit ilang beses mo sya i-fail? Minsan naaabusado ng iba yung kabaitan but I would never do that, kasi alam ko di nya ko mapupunta sa mapapasama ako. Mga unang year ko i-feel like I don’t deserve sa spotlight ganito ganyan nagtataka ko never niya pina-feel sa akin yun and he always push me talaga. Hanggang sa I notice sa sarili ko na nagi-improve nga ako and ang character ko," she added.
"Lagi niya sinasabi sakin na makita ko lang kayo okay yung buhay after niyo sakin okay nako. And I guess that’s the definition ng success ng isang coach. Na nakikita mo yung player mo na okay after mo sya i-handle. And nakikita mo na nafufulfill niya yung purpose niya as a person."
Aside from being part of the Perlas Spikers, Sindayen also serves as one of the Spike and Serve Philippines coaches, teaching these kids to improve their volleyball skills - whether beginners or those with experience.
Founded by Tiamzon in 2017, Spike and Serve Philippines is a non-profit community-based sports development organization that provides an avenue for aspiring volleyball players to get mentoring from prominent coaches like Sindayen. Through the sports development program, the children it train will get opportunities for education and career in the future.
"Telling them our testimonies of how volleyball change our lives. Tell them how important to be physically active. Volleyball is addicting maybe sa umpisa may mga di ito gusto like me, but nung ma-realize ko how important yung sports napamahal talaga ako and ayaw ko na umalis, haha. We teach there para maka-hone din ng life skills ng mga bata and ayaw kong mamiss nila yung naexperience naming pagbabago ng dahil sa volleyball and kung wala man silang chance makapaglaro we are giving it to them," said Sindayen.
The Luzon-wide lockdown last March forced Spike and Serve Philippines to canceled all of its trainings to lessen the risk of having COVID-19. For Sindayen, it is very different to teaching these kids online than the usual in-venue trainings.
"Very hard, feel ko naman halos sa lahat ng type of work lalo na need ng physical contact nahirapan, but kailangan sumunod. Safety and pinakaimportante sa lahat kahit wala pang COVID, safety talaga like bago ka maglaro we always tell na yung safety. Online kami now and di kami makapag-include ng exercises masyado na may bola and net," said Sindayen.
Besides keeping in touch with her teammates through weekly Zoom meetings, Sindayen is also making sure to remain in shape during the quarantine.
"Workout everyday, there where cheat days pero madalas controlled ako kumain, mindset ko talaga na hindi ako tataba kundi mas magiging fit ako this ECQ. May program kami na binbinigay ng S&C (strength and conditioning coach) namin na pinupush ko talaga na hindi mangdaya kahit isa hehe," said Sindayen.
With the opening of the new PVL season still uncertain due to the pandemic, Sindayen remains upbeat that volleyball will be back very soon and help the Perlas Spikers win the championship in the fourth season in the club league.
"I know may purpose talaga ito maybe gawin natin yung kaya munang gawin ngayon. For the better. Enjoy our times with our families, reflect on yourselves more, encourage others more, talk to the Lord more. Pray for the better more," said Sindayen.