Moment of truth for national pool

Thursday, 18 May 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Photo courtesy of Rave Sengco of Volleyball PH

After displaying their talents in the Clash of Heroes, the moment of truth will finally arrive for the members of the national pool.

The Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) is set to formally announce the composition of the team headed for the 29th Southeast Asian Games on Friday afternoon at the Arellano School of Law gym in Manila.

LVPI acting president Peter Cayco said the national coaches, headed by Francis Vicente of the women’s team and Sammy Acaylar of the men’s team, are set to hold a closed-door deliberation Thursday night to carefully weigh in their decisions.

He said the primary considerations that national coaches will take into are the players’ skills, attitude and attendance.

Although he believes that Vicente and Acaylar already have preliminary list, he doesn’t want to inquire, saying that developing a fighting team with commitment and great attitude is the sole discretion of national coaches.

“It’s really up to them. We don’t meddle with their decision.”
“We trust the coaches. We know that there’s a good reason behind their decision. Basta whoever they will pick, the federation will just be here to support them.”

Are stars in trouble?

For missing the Clash of Heroes, prominent stars appear to be in the bubble.

Alyssa Valdez of Creamline, Grethcel Soltones of BaliPure, Elaine Kasilag and Myla Pablo of Pocari Sweat in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) were notably absent during the final leg of the tryouts as well as seasoned campaigners Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga of Cignal and Kim Fajardo, Aby Marano, Kim Dy and Dawn Macandili of F2 Logistics.

Ateneo stars Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino, for their part, are no longer in the running as they already declined their nomination.

Vicente said he understands the plight of these stars and he will give them “special consideration” in the deliberation.

Daquis and Gonzaga, for instance, were with the HD Spikers in a training camp in Japan where they rubbed elbows with one-time Manila visitors Kobe Shinwa Women’s University.

On the same note, Marano, Fajardo, Dy and Macandili were with the Cargo Movers in a team-building session in Batangas. Although they tried their best to get back to Manila for the crucial event, sources said no less than top LVPI officials told them to stay put for their own safety.

Meanwhile, PVL players also failed to make it since they are entering the crucial stretch of their campaign. The lack of international transfer certificates of their imports also made it difficult for them to show up.

Vicente said everything would be factored in.

“We would take everything into consideration, including their attendance in previous training sessions.”
“As I’ve said, the door is not yet locked. All you have to do is to knock. If you know that you showed your commitment and willingness to play for the country, I think you’re safe.”

No shoo-in

Vicente added that unlike the men’s team, which is considering team captain Johnvic de Guzman as a shoo-in, everybody in the women’s team has equal chances of cracking into the final roster.

He said players already have a slight idea on whether they would be selected or not based on how they fared in the previous tryouts and the Clash of Heroes.

Sources said stars like Daquis, Gonzaga, Marano, Denise Lazaro and Mika Reyes have good attendance in training as well as Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Bia General and Gen Casugod.

Kim Fajardo and Dawn Macandili also reported for training a day after La Salle retained its UAAP women’s volleyball title.

“At this point, the players already have a good idea if they’re going to make it or not.”
“If they showed commitment and good character during training, then they will have a strong chance of making it.”

Still, Vicente maintained that everything would be decided in the final deliberation on Thursday night among his staff composed of Brian Esquibel, Ronald Dulay, Kungfu Reyes, Nene Chavez, Ian Fernandez and Benson Bocboc.

He said Friday would be a very crucial day for the national team.

It is the moment of truth – the day everybody has been waiting for.