PSL-F2 Logistics coach Moro Branislav’s decision to field an all-Filipino crew in the second set of their match against reigning champion Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul in the FIVB Women’s Club World ChampionshipFriday night has a long-term impact on Philippine volleyball.
Branislav said the seven local players – collectively known as Magnificent 7 – should serve as torchbearers of Philippine volleyball in major international tournaments, especially in the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Seniors Women’s Championship next year.
Among them, Daquis, Gonzaga and Jen Reyes are the most decorated in the international circuit after seeing action in the SEA Games and a handful of Asian championships. On the other hand, Fajardo, Molina and Mika Reyes as regarded as three of the brightest stars of this generation.
That’s why everybody erupted in jubilation when they were fielded together in the second set of their match against Eczacibasi – a club composed of Olympic all-stars and the Turkish national team.
Branislav said fielding the Magnificent 7 was a no-brainer.
[quote]I have trust in my Filipino players. This is a great opportunity for Philippine volleyball.[/quote]
It is the first time for the Philippines to compete in the world stage.
Aside from Eczacibasi, also competing are European clubs VakifBank Istanbul, Volero Zurich and Pomi Casalmaggiore. Asian superpowers Bangkok Glass and Hisamitsu Springs Kobe are also campaigning as well as 11-time Brazilian Superliga champion Rexona-Sesc Rio, which also ruled the tough South American qualifiers.
No United States-based club was entered but its star players like Foluke Akinradewo, Kimberly Hill, Jordan Larson-Burbach, Carli Lloyd and Rachel Adams are all seeing action, proving how elite this annual tournament is.
Branislav, a grizzled guru from Serbia, said the impact of Magnificent 7 seeing action in the world stage is massive, something which would cascade to generations to come.
[quote]This is a big win for Philippine volleyball. And after this, I guarantee you, the level of Philippine volleyball will increase by 30 to 40 percent.
Believe me, after three to four years, the national team will be in the first level in Asia. Then, after five to six years, it will be possible to have one very big and strong team.[/quote]
But on top of this, Branislav said there’s only one organization to thank for.
[quote]PSL (Philippine Superliga) management did an excellent job in my opinion. It laid down the foundation for all of these.[/quote]