Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and other volleyball stars who skipped the tryouts last April could still be part of the national women’s team pool as coaches Odjie Mamon and Jorge Edson Souza de Brito have yet to decide who will fill the remaining spots.
Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said there are still four slots to be filled in the pool and it will be up to Mamon and incoming Brazilian mentor Souza de Brito who they will add to the 16 attendees of the Subic tryouts.
“As I said, the last time we discussed this or even mentioned this with national team commission head Tony Boi Liao, the four slots will be chosen by coach Odjie and the Brazilian coach,” Suzara stressed during the virtual signing ceremony for the three-year sponsorship deal between the PNVF and Republic Biscuit Corporation (Rebisco) on Tuesday afternoon, June 15.
Valdez and Morado, being star players of the Creamline Cool Smashers owned by Rebisco in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) and national team mainstays, are seen as shoo-ins for the vacant spots.
The two former Ateneo standouts begged off from the tryouts due to travel and health concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
Other notable volleybelles who missed the proceedings were Kim Fajardo, Dawn Macandili, Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag and Kim Kianna Dy.
The 16 players who participated out of the 40 invitees, among them ex-national team captain Aby Maraño, Jaja Santiago, Eya Laure, Majoy Baron, Mylene Paat and Iris Tonelada, were automatically named to the national pool.
Suzara said they are eyeing to start the bubble training of the Philippine women’s and men’s volleyball squads at the Centennial Arena in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte next week.
“We’re just preparing for the logistics and they will start playing there already,” said Suzara, adding that alternate gyms are available in the nearby town of Bacarra in case of hectic schedule at the Centennial Arena.
Suzara also said that Souza de Brito, an Olympic gold-winning player and coach from Brazil who was tapped by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) to help the PH women’s team, is just waiting for the release of his visa. The 52-year-old mentor is expected to arrive early next month following his first dose of Covid vaccine.
Souza de Brito and Mamon will work together in preparing the national squad for the AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship slated in San Fernando, Pampanga from Aug. 29-Sept. 5 and more importantly, for the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam which could be postponed to next year.
Meanwhile, the men’s side which has 20 players in its pool will compete in the Asian Men’s Volleyball Championship scheduled in Chiba, Japan in September.