When the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Incorporated officially announced the tryouts for the Men’s National Seniors and Under-23 teams, many wonder who they tapped to run the show. The suspense ended when UAAP Representative to the LVPI Board and UE Athletic Director Rodrigo Roque introduced to everyone in attendance National University head coach Dante Alinsunurin as the chosen one.
The three-time UAAP men’s volleyball champion was the ultimate choice of the selection committee composed of Roque, LVPI Vice President Joey Romasanta, and LVPI Board Member Col. Jeff Tamayo.
How did the selection process went? Roque shares, “We actually listed down a few names from the NCAA, the UAAP and the commercial ranks, then we narrowed it down based on qualification. Syempre yung recent exposure nila, sa national level, tapos ung international level. So after we selected from the list of coaches, it was narrowed down to Coach Dante since maganda ang exposure niya sa national and international level.”
Roque cited Alinsunurin’s most recent success as proof that he is the rightful mentor. “Look at the ASEAN University games, they beat Thailand and we know naman that they are a power house in volleyball. Even though Thailand sent their Team B, still its Thailand.”
Now that the former National Team player is in charge, the LVPI gives him the green light to appoint his deputies. “We gave Coach Dante the free hand in choosing his coaching staff. Qualification-wise naman, ilang championship na rin naman si Coach Dante nationally and internationally so he is really qualified,” Roque added.
On his part, Alinsunurin was surprised to be named as the head tactician of the Men’s National Team. “Siyempre naman na-surprise ako. Maraming lumalabas na balita na iba’t ibang pangalan ang lumalabas. So nung dumating yung tryout, ako na pala ang pinangalanan nilang head coach so malaki ang pasasalamat ko kanila Sir Rod Roque, Sir Peter Cayco, and Sir Joey Romasanta na magtiwala sa akin.”
With Alinsunurin at the helm, the men’s squad will try to improve from the sixth-place finish they achieve during the 2017 Southeast Asian Games when the competition return to Manila later this year. But beyond the SEA Games, his appointment and the attendance of close to 90 aspirants over two days at the University of the East Gymnasium signals a dawn of a new era for the Philippine men’s volleyball program.