FIVB president praises POC, PNVF

The president of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) heaped praises for the national federation for its excellent hosting of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for its strength in successfully settling issues regarding the sport’s national association.

International Volleyball Federation President Ary da Silva Graca congratulates Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Philippine National Volleyball Federation President Ramon “Tats” Suzara (third from left). Also in photo are FIVB General Director Fabio Azevedo (left) and Graca’s wife Marina.

With the picturesque Taal Volcano as backdrop from the Knights Templar Hotel view deck in Tagaytay City, FIVB President Ary da Silva Graca thanked POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino for his professional handling of the rift that forced the world governing body to “suspend” Philippine volleyball for almost one Olympic cycle while recognizing a provisional national sports association.

“Thank you very much Mr. President ... not only for the extraordinary lunch, but you helped us solve the problems here in the Philippines,” Graca told Tolentino during his entourage’s lunch visit on Monday in Tagaytay City where he was treated to a sumptuous lunch of chicken and pork adobo, sinigang na bangus, ensaladang talong and crispy pata.

“You are very strong,” added Graca, who was accompanied by his elegant wife, Marina, and FIVB General Director Fabio Azevedo.

“It’s an honor,” said Tolentino, who led the POC’s supervision of untangling the leadership crisis in the volleyball federation in February last year when Ramon “Tats” Suzara assumed the presidency of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation in an electoral exercise ordered by the FIVB.

The PNVF’s successful hosting of two weeks of the VNL that featured 16 of the top men and women teams in the world didn’t escape Graca’s attention.

“It’s a 10,” Graca told key PNVF and local organizing committee personnel during a congratulatory meeting on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The noon after, the former Brazilian national team player repeated his praise of Suzara.

“An excellent job that you have done,” Graca told Suzara. “You can compare it to Brazil, Poland and Turkey and Italy. You were all completely prepared even without your team playing.”

“This is absolutely something new ... the Philippine people are very responsive people and they love the sport,” he said. “This is a very big responsibility for your Olympic committee president to see all sports prosper, not only volleyball.”