Second chance for volleyball stars?

Published May 1, 2021, 4:59 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc. (PNVF) board member Tony Liao said players that were absent from the recent tryouts could still make it to the national team being formed for the 31st Southeast Asian Games late this year.

This came after PNVF president Tats Suzara stressed that “no tryouts, no national team” policy following the low turnout of female players in Wednesday’s tryouts at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

“Yung kanyang ‘No tryouts, no national team,’ for him that’s his idea. But still, the executive board will decide on all of these kasi madaming stars ang hindi nasali dyan eh,” said Liao during Saturday’s guesting with Noli Eala’s Power & Play program.

Liao, who is also appointed national team committee co-chairman, added they needed all the best athletes that they have if they wanted to win a SEAG medal.

The last time the women’s team made it to the podium was at the 2005 SEAG where it won bronze.

“If I think na gusto mapagmedalya ang Pilipinas sa coming SEAG, talagang isalang yung mga stars na hindi nasali para malakas ang team natin,” said Liao.

Only 16 of the 40 invited female athletes showed up at the tryouts after some players expressed health concerns due to the pandemic.

Among those absent were Alyssa Valdez, Kim Fajardo, Jia Morado, Rhea Dimaculangan, Myla Pablo, Ces Molina, Kat Tolentino, Dindin Santiago, Kim Dy, Risa Sato, Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag, Dawn Macandili, Denden Lazaro and Kath Arado, to name a few.

In contrast, 31 of 40 invited players showed up for the men’s tryouts including members of the PH squad that won the historic silver medal at the 2019 SEAG.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to include the national team in the bubble of the Premier Volleyball League’s Open Conference set late June or early July either in Calamba or Subic.

“I think the president (Suzara) has agreed in principle to the idea,” PVL president Ricky Palou said.

Though they will not be included in the tournament, Palou said national team members could have practice sessions with the club teams competing in the Conference.

“In fact a couple of years ago, that’s how we prepare the men’s team in the SEAG. They were able to play with the other teams in the Spikers’ Turf tournament. So that really helped them develop teamwork, coordination. That really did the team good, and you know the result of that. They landed a silver medal,” Palou said.

Palou and Liao said forming a PH team with seven months left in the SEAG would be beneficial to the squad as it would give them enough time to prepare to be at part with their counterparts, who are already formed and training for the biennial meet.