May 24, 2024

Out of her comfort zone, Ced Domingo finds maturity and composure in golden Thailand stint

Out of her comfort zone, Ced Domingo finds maturity and composure in golden Thailand stint
Ced Domingo's stint in Thailand with Nakhon Ratchasima was truly successful in more ways than one. Art by Mitzi Solano/One Sports

Ced Domingo had simply wanted to go out of her comfort zone when she left for Thailand to reinforce Nakhon Ratchasima last October.

But in her first international stint, the 5-foot-9 middle blocker had gained more than just personal growth.

Domingo helped the Cat Devils capture their sixth Volleyball Thailand League title, becoming the first Filipina to strike gold in the ASEAN powerhouse country.

The 24-year-old FEU product has also become the third Filipino import to win an overseas league championship after Jaja Santiago and Bryan Bagunas.

[Related: Ced Domingo wins VTL gold with Nakhon Ratchasima]

"Sobrang saya. Sabi ko nga sa post ko na parang ano siya sakin, ‘who could have thought’ moment siya for me kasi coming doon, no expectations din eh," Domingo gushed.

"Gusto ko lang din talaga ma-experience and lumabas din sa comfort zone ko na kung ano pa ba 'yung ibubuga ko as a player and as an individual."

This is coming from an athlete who has had incredible success in the local volleyball scene.

Before spreading her wings on international shores, Domingo had already established herself as a reputable middle blocker in the Premier Volleyball League, where she won four titles and a Finals MVP with powerhouse Creamline.

Domingo could have stayed in the Philippines for comfort and familiarity, but she instead went for a road less traveled.

As she made a leap of faith in Thailand, Domingo landed in Nakhon Ratchasima, a powerhouse team of their own which had a similar winning culture as Creamline.

[Related: LOOK: Ced Domingo, a champion again]

"So, sinwerte lang ako na sobrang lakas din talaga ng teammates ko and sobrang ano, hindi rin talaga nagpapatalo. Same mentality from my former team na Creamline na 'yung level of competitiveness tsaka 'yung hindi talaga papayag na matatalo," she shared.

"Nakita ko 'yun going to Nakhon so parang hindi na rin siya bago sa feeling and parang I felt ano lang din, I’m in the right team doon."

Four months removed from her initial move to Thailand, Domingo has blossomed into a better version of herself.

"Well, I’ve said this before na din na one thing that I’ve really learned coming home from Thailand is 'yung maturity ko inside the game," she revealed.

"'Yung composure din kasi sa Thailand, grabe rin 'yung mga ka-teammate ko doon like Onuma (Sittirak), talagang 'yung mga legends din ng Thailand. It’s super nice playing alongside them kasi sobrang dami niya talagang naturo sakin as a player."

As soon as her overseas endeavor came to a close, Domingo has opened another chapter in her promising career with a bold move to Akari.

[Related: LOOK: Ced Domingo joins Akari for 2024 season debut]

This is the third club team transfer for the fleet-footed stalwart in a span of months.

Still, despite the taxing nature of transitioning from one squad to another, Domingo is taking everything in stride.

"Honestly, at some point nakaka-overwhelm din talaga kasi 'yun nga sobrang daming changes and transitions pero at the end of the day, ganun talaga yung buhay," she expressed.

"Pinagaaralan ko na lang na kung paano ko siya iha-handle and kung paano 'yung magiging approach ko every day."

[Related: PVL: Ced Domingo strives to find bearings in Akari]

Domingo made her league return and her first act with Akari in a campaign-opening, four-set loss to Cignal in the 2024 PVL All-Filipino Conference last Feb. 24.

As underwhelming as the losing debut may have been, she remains steadfast.

"I really just can’t wait na ma-apply yung mga natutunan ko sa Thailand here sa Akari," Domingo said.