On paper and in social media, the national women’s team appears like a collection of the country’s brightest stars.
Alyssa Valdez, the country’s most popular spiker, is there as well as Rachel Anne Daquis, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Kim Fajardo and Aby Marano.
But team captain Mika Reyes begs to disagree.
An equally popular middle blocker due to her stunning looks and defensive prowess, Reyes humbly said they would not treat themselves as superstars when they march into the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
She said they vowed to keep their egos in check and focus on steering the country to an impressive finish in the Asian tourney from Aug. 9 to 17 in Manila and the SEA Games from Aug. 19 to 31 in Kuala Lumpur.
In fact, they had a bull session in Kazakhstan during the staging of the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship recently, where national team head coach Francis Vicente instilled a mentality that everybody is equal and has to play their respective roles to perfection.
[quote]“Just like what we discussed in Kazakhstan, and like what coach Vince (Vicente) told us, there is no star player in this team.”[/quote]
[quote]“We’re all equal here. Nobody should be treated as above everyone else. Maybe some of us are more competitive than the other, but all players are on equal footing on this team.”[/quote]
Work in progress
Reyes is absolutely correct as the Filipinos have yet to win anything significant in the international arena.
Sure, the players have massive followers in social media, including sparkling contracts from endorsements, commercials and other projects.
But in the FIVB ranking released shortly after the Rio Olympics last year, the Philippine women’s national team ranks 79th together with 16 other countries without a single point.
Olympic champion China is on top of the ranking while Japan is at 6th and South Korea at 10th. Southeast Asian powerhouse Thailand is at 14th place.
All of these Asian supremos are set to see action in the Asian Seniors with the Chinese reportedly deploying its best team bannered by Zhu Ting while the Koreans will be parading global superstar Kim Yeon-kuong.
The Philippines also haven’t won a god medal in the SEA Games since reigning supreme in 1993. In the previous biennial meet, the country fell to fifth place with Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore emerging on medal podium.
That’s why the Nationals vowed to try their best to make an impact.
And it all starts with having good chemistry among players and coaches.
[quote]“We’re happy, especially the coaches.”[/quote]
[quote]“Like every training, they often say ‘thank you’ because they appreciate our presence and even if the attendance is not perfect, they are still thankful that we’re there. Yes, it’s just a small matter, but we’re glad that they appreciate the idea that we’re trying our best to be complete (in training).”[/quote]
Reyes emphasized that bringing the country back to international prominence takes some time.
But at least they’re moving in the right direction.