As 2018 winds down, we look back at the headlines that shaped the sport this year. These are the stories that made us our jaw drop in amazement or shed a tear due to pride. There may never be happy endings all the time. But these events made us feel better as a fan or as a citizen of this great nation. Thus, we list down the top 10 stories that defined Philippine volleyball. These are in no particular order.
A spike for history
None of the volleyball players who represented the Philippines during the 2018 Asian Games were even born the last time our flag graced the taraflex. A lot of players are worthy of donning the country’s colors but it never happened for over three decades. This year, the clouds have opened and a team has been sent. The result might have been anticlimactic especially against powerhouse teams like Thailand, Japan, and China. But what’s more important is the breakthrough of bringing the sport to the consciousness of more Filipinos.
Forget about the drama whether the basketball team will represent the country or not. What the Philippine women’s volleyball team achieved is far more historic regardless of wins and losses. The best players in our country get to compete against those they look up to and learn to improve their craft on the fly. The younger generation gets inspired to follow the footsteps of their idols. The powers that be gets to see how much work needs to be laid out after this stepping stone.
As we celebrate the players who went home as heroes by upholding national pride during the Asian Games and the AVC Cup, let’s not forget the unsung heroes of this journey. It’s those who showed support for the squad despite the bitter defeats. It’s the individuals who tuned in to every game and even provided ways on how others can watch untelevised matches. It’s the people who travelled to the games and cheering at the top of their lungs while waving our flag. The #Sambansa mantra encapsulates the unity that transpired every time we clap for a spike, a kill block, or an ace for our players. May that unity prevail in developing future versions of this squad.
A toast for these exceptional Filipinas
On the last day of 2018, let’s not forget the sacrifices and triumph of the Asian Games 2018 squad: team captain Aby Marano, Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Mika Reyes, Cha Cruz-Behag, Majoy Baron, Kim Kianna Dy, Mylene Paat, Kim Fajardo, Jia Morado, Maika Ortiz, Denden Lazaro, and Dawn Macandili. Here’s a toast for Grethcel Soltones, Risa Sato, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Jasmine Nabor, Jema Galanza, and Melissa Gohing who came in for the AVC Cup.
There will be more opportunities to cheer for our National Team next year. May we not fail in letting them feel the warmth of our support. Regardless on who gets the nod, let’s not forget that what’s more important is the flag printed on the front of the jersey and not the surname at the back. Together, let’s continue to nurture the seeds that we’ve planted for Philippine volleyball.