Unlike their basketball counterparts, the Philippine women’s volleyball team for the 2018 Asian Games did not back out from the competition.
They did not back out from the fact that there’s not enough time to build a potent team, much more a cohesive one. They did not back out even if original national team head coach Ramil De Jesus begged off due to conflicts in schedule. They did not back out even when Ces Molina went down to injury and Rhea Dimaculangan took a sabbatical from the game. Time and again, our players have risen above the challenges and they are prepared to compete.
We may have different preferences about players that should have been included in the roster. But this is not the time for bickering. With the tournament just days away, these battle-hardened players will need our unified support during their games. Criticisms about their performance will always be there. However, let’s do it once the scores have been settled. What’s best is to match their hardest spikes with the loudest of our cheers.
Let us cheer for Aby Maraño who will be the emotional leader of the squad. Her fiery on-court demeanor is so infectious that it can elevate the team’s level of play. Let’s motivate Maika Ortiz, Majoy Baron, and Mika Reyes who have embraced the ardous task of defending against attacks from the middle. Let us throw our support for Denden Lazaro and Dawn Macandili who will be our last line of defense. Let’s show Kim Fajardo and Jia Morado that we have their backs in every play that they execute.
As for Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Mylene Paat, Cha Cruz, Kim Dy, Jaja Santiago, and Alyssa Valdez, let’s feed off from every kill they make. Let’s not forget to raise our glasses for coach Shaq Delos Santos and his staff who came in at the eleventh hour to keep the program going. For those who will be able to watch the games in the venues, you will play a huge factor in boosting the player’s morale especially when things are not falling into place.
But for most of us who will catch the games via livestream, let’s make noise over social media by posting or tweeting about their great plays and using hashtags such as #LabanPilipinas or #SpikeforthePH so that more Filipinos will be inspired to tune in. Let’s flood the livestream chat with positive comments so that our national player will feel the embrace of the entire nation.
The Philippine team will start their 2018 Asian Games campaign against Thailand. It will be a tall order for our ladies given that the Thais are the queens of Southeast Asian volleyball for almost two decades. They did take their feet off the gas by sending their best collection of talent. Japan will also be a tough outing for our representatives. But despite the mismatches, there’s this itch in us to root for our players. After all, what’s more important is the country’s name in front of the jersey and not the surname at the back.
When the tournament is through, let’s applaud their performance regardless of position. It’s hard to play multiple games in a week and rest is a luxury given that there are practices in between fixtures. Likewise, it’s the first time in three decades that we are sending a team in said competition. Let’s hope that it will be a good start for a rosy volleyball program in the Philippines.
The fight of our women’s volleyball team is for every Filipino who had to fly away in order to make a living, just like how our players went to Japan to keep on refining their game. Their fight is for everyone who would like to spike away the troubles and problems that they encounter every day. Their fight is for those who get up after falling just like a libero executing a pancake dig to save the ball. Their fight is for those who are strong enough to catch the adversities coming their much like a hard spike well received.
Their fight throughout the 2018 Asian Games reflects the challenges we face, regardless if it brings victory or defeat. Their fight is our fight. With every touch of the volleyball, they are us and we are them.