Barring any last-minute change of heart, Alyssa Valdez will join the tryouts for the national team headed for the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) acting president Peter Cayco bared that Valdez is serious in making the national squad a bid to power the Nationals back to the medal podium after a 12-year drought.
In fact, Valdez already has a round-trip ticket just in case she has to fly back to the country to join the tryouts set on January 28, 29 and 31 at the Arellano University gym in Taft Avenue, Manila.
But the second day of the tryouts clashes directly with the schedule of her Thai club – 3BB Nokhonnont – where it would battle King-Bangkok in its first match of the second round of the Thailand Volleyball League (TVL).
With that, Valdez is expected to return to the country by the first or second week of February where the federation would stage series of tryouts in Cebu and Davao.
Cayco said Valdez is aware the there would be no sacred cows, knowing that the national team head coach in Francis Vicente is a strict disciplinarian.
Vicente, the head coach of Generika in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) and University of the East in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), served as Valdez’s head coach in high school at University of Santo Tomas.
[quote]“She would do everything to join the tryouts because she respects coach Francis, other players and the entire selection process as well. She knows that she has to do her best to fight for her slot.”[/quote]
If and when she would be selected, Vicente said Valdez would be allowed to resume her stint with her Thai club until the conclusion of the TVL in early April.
[quote]“She has a contract to honor.”
“The important thing is for Alyssa to fly back here and join the tryouts. After that, she can go back to Bangkok and honor her commitment with her Thai club. But once the TVL is done, we need her here to shift our preparation in a higher gear.”[/quote]
Vicente, however, cautioned that joining the tryouts doesn’t mean anything.
[quote]“Joining the tryouts doesn’t mean that she already has a slot in the team. She still has to fight for her slot and show her commitment. What if there’s a 6-foot-5 open spiker who plays a lot better than her? Will I pick Alyssa over her? Of course not.”
“I don’t want to pick Alyssa because I am her high school coach. I want to pick her because she showed her commitment and she deserves to be part of the national team.”
“I want everybody to see that she’s there fighting for her slot. We need to protect the integrity of the selection process and the entire volleyball community.”[/quote]
Not just Alyssa
Valdez is not the lone star who is tipped to miss the first leg of the tryouts.
Sources said Mika Reyes and Bang Pineda of Petron, Aby Marano of F2 Logistics, Denden Lazaro of BaliPure, Rachel Anne Daquis of RC Cola-Army are included in the group of stars who are in danger of missing the three-day tryouts as they have are set to honor an out-of-town commitment on January 28 and 29.
Cayco, however, stressed that these players could still make the team provided that they undergo the tryouts in Cebu and Davao.
[quote]“There’s still hope. If they can’t make the Manila tryouts, they can still join the selection process in Cebu and Davao. We will welcome them with open arms. Everybody is welcome.”[/quote]
He added that they want to start the formation of the team on a high note.
[quote]“I’m glad that our volleyball players are all respecting our selection process. Alyssa, for instance, is very much willing to fly back just to attend the tryouts and fight for her slot. I hope this would be the start of unity in Philippine volleyball.”[/quote]
The federation would be sending letters to various leagues to allow their players participate in the national team program.