Sammy’s last hurrah

Friday, 06 Jan 2017
Nads Ong - Correspondent - @nadineisreal

After formally cutting his ties with Cignal, seasoned mentor Sammy Acaylar revealed that coaching the National Team should serve as his last hurrah.

It’s not impossible to achieve.

The Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) on Thursday released a list of coaches who are eligible to call the shots for the National Team in the AVC Asian Women’s Seniors Championship and the 29thSoutheast Asian Games this year.

Acaylar, together with Generika coach Francis Vicente and Ateneo men’s team tactician Oliver Almadro, is said to have an inside track for having a vast experience in plotting the national team program.

He was part of the coaching staff when the country last won its gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in 1993 and handled the National Team in the Asian Women’s Seniors Championship in Tianjin, China in 2015.

This time, he wants another chance, another shot at glory before he formally retires.

“My ultimate goal before I retire is to bring glory to our country by coaching the National Team.”

More determined

The landscape of Philippine volleyball has greatly changed since its glory years in the mid-1990s.

There are two rival leagues – the Philippine V-League and the Philippine Superliga – and the country has produced quality players like Aby Marano, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Kim Fajardo, Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago who are all worthy of drawing an invite from foreign leagues.

That’s why Acaylar is more eager, more determined to pilot the national team program.

“I became more eager to do it because I know that we can now form a solid roster. It is the perfect time for me to share everything I learned in my international exposures.”

LVPI acting president Peter Cayco said the national coach should display the passion and commitment to serve the country through volleyball.

Previous achievements, number of fans or the glamour of the school are all worthless because the most important thing is the time the coach is willing to invest to turn the Philippines into a powerhouse club in Asia.

Acaylar reiterated that he’s ready for the challenge.

“This is something I’ve been praying for. I want to retire without any regret, knowing that I did something to make my country proud.”

Acaylar smiled.

Obviously, he doesn’t see coaching the National Team as a job.

He sees it as a personal mission, an ultimate goal that would define his legacy.