Acaylar, Vicente as frontrunners?

Thursday, 05 Jan 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad

Former national team head coaches Sammy Acaylar and Francis Vicente loom as top choices to handle the national women’s team that would see action in a pair of major international tournaments this year – the AVC Asian Women’s Seniors Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

In a list of eligible coaches released by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI), it appears that Acaylar and Vicente as well as Ateneo de Manila men’s team coach Oliver Almadro have an inside track for being former coaches of the national squad.

LVPI acting president Peter Cayco said he would carefully screen the list and ask the applicants to submit their respective plans and program on how they would run the national team and help the country get back into medal podium in the regional stage.

Cayco, who was tasked to spearhead the formation of the team, reiterated that the main criteria for a potential head coach are his commitment and willingness to serve the country through volleyball.

“We don’t really look into his past achievements or number of fans; all we’re looking for is his commitment.”

“Coaching the national team is a full-time job. He may be a well-decorated coach, but if he doesn’t have the time for the national squad, we can’t still appoint him. This job entails a lot of sacrifices and love for the country.”

The LVPI is tipped to come up with a decision by the second week of this month.

Glorious past

Both Acaylar and Vicente had a glorious past calling the shots for the national team.

Acaylar is best remembered for being part of the team that last captured the gold medal in the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore. He served as deputy to Russian coach Stav Lugailo together with multi-titled collegiate coach Emiliano Lontoc.

His last stint with the Nationals was two years ago when he steered the team of Myla Pablo, Michelle Gumabao, Kim Dy and Melissa Gohing to an good run in the AVC Asian Women’s Seniors Championship.

He stepped down from Cignal in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) recently, a move seen as his way of freeing up his schedule in preparation for the national coaching chore.

On the same note, Vicente is also considered as a celebrated coach.

He is a good teacher who mentored rising stars like Alyssa Valdez, Kim Fajardo, Jaja Santiago and Dindin Manabat in their formative years. He also called the shots for the Nationals in the AVC Asian Men’s Club Championship three years ago and handled the team that saw action in the Princess Cup Southeast Asian Women’s Under-19 Championship and the AVC Asian U19 Women’s Championship last year.

Aside from them, Almadro also has a handsome chance for calling the shots for the men’s team in the 28th SEA Games in Singapore last year.

But Cayco refused to speculate.

Like all applicants, they also have to be interviewed and convince me that they can run an honest-to-goodness national team program. They also have to show that they are committed and have the time to spend with the development of the team from February to August.

Other applicants

Aside from Acaylar, Vicente and Almadro, also included in the list are Lerma Giron, Mac Gepuela, Marcelo Joaquin, Jason Gabales, Michael Inoferio, Bryan Esquibel, Raymund Castillo, Jeremiah Barrica, Raplh Dablo, Leovimo Rivera, Michael Santos, Roberto Javier, Carl Bryan Vitus, Richard Estacio, Ruel Pascual, Leonardo Toyco, Benjamin Mape, Michael Carino, Dexter Clamor and Alvin Dumalaog.

Cayco said these coaches are all members of LVPI coaches’ commission and are the first choices whenever the country would be sending a team to international tournaments.

These are the coaches from the LVPI coaches commission. We would pick all of our national team coaches from this pool. They may not be very popular, but they have the time and the commitment to serve our country.

Cayco said they also invited University of Santo Tomas coach Kungfu Reyes and La Salle mentor Ramil de Jesus to be part of the selection process.

They, however, begged odd due to their respective commitments with their respective collegiate squads.

But they assured us that they would do their best to help us if their time permits. We’re looking forward to get this off the ground and start our long journey to winning a medal.