For Flag and Country

The Arena, San Juan
September 8, 2014
For Flag and Country

The Philippine Volleyball Federation recently named La Salle’s Ramil de Jesus as the women’s volleyball team coach while Santo Tomas’ Odjie Mamon the men’s coach. Both are deserving. Rivals.ph wrote it first. And here’s their story:

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MANILA — Dawn of a new era.
Multi-titled coaches Ramil de Jesus and Odjie Mamon have been named head coaches of the Philippine national women’s and men’s volleyball teams, respectively.
De Jesus, who mans the sideline for UAAP powerhouse De La Salle University, told Rivals he just accepted the position Saturday and would have to confer with the Philippine Volleyball Federation on how he will design and handle the program for the seniors women’s team.
“Ang pinakamabigat na task dun ay magbuo ng team sa ngayon kasi kung sino lang yung pupunta sa tryouts, yun lang muna yung magfoform ng national team,” he said.

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“Ang maganda sana kung lahat ng schools or organizations sumuporta sa national team kasi mahirap naman na may mga talents na hindi mo masasama sa national team,” De Jesus added. “So malaking bagay sana na makasali yun para makapag-contribute ng mga talents.”
De Jesus isn’t new to coaching the PH team, having led the national spikers to a bronze medal in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games in Bacolod — the last time the Philippines grabbed a medal in the regional meet.
“Noong 2005, hindi naman ganun kalayo yung Philippines sa Vietnam. Almost close kami,” he shared. “Then sa powerhouse na Thailand, hindi masyadong malayo. Sa ngayon, after 10 years, iba na yun. Malayong malayo na yung kailangan habulin.”
Meanwhile, Mamon, who helms both the men’s and women’s teams of University of Santo Tomas, learned last Monday that he will head the Filipino spikers in their bid to return to relevance in international volleyball.
“We will go forward pero we can take two paths. Yung medyo medium-term saka long-term,” Mamon told Rivals. “If you go long-term, right now pa lang kukuha na kami. Mag-start kami sa age groups. And then short-term or medium-term yan, ang target namin is yung mga SEA Games, Universiade.” — with reports from Kathy Catipay and Mac Dionisio/Rivals 2014

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Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: It used to be that playing for the country is every athlete’s dream. Now, it’s different. It has become school first, or club team first before the country. I’m not blaming our players, maybe they are constrained by the mother teams they’re playing for. Or they shy away from the national volleyball federation that is riddled by ineptitude and poor leadership in the past. But if you’re wearing the national colors, set those distractions aside. You perobably saw Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup and how they capture hearts and caught the imagination of the world. If you’re not inspired by the example they set, I don’t what will. I mean, it would be better if we can assemble the best of the best. How nice it is if Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez, the most popular and supremely talented player in the country today, is there. The Santiago sisters–Dindin and Jaa–too. How about Shakey’s V-League conference MVP Rachel Anne Daquis and Finals MVP Jovelyn Gonzaga? Will it be nice if Tina Salak, one of the smartest players that ever lived, plays one last time for the Philippines ala Jimmy Alapag? Or how about For sure, Abby Marano, who played for La Salle under de Jesus, will be in the team. I hope deep in my heart that we unite in this cause. Not just for volleyball, the sport we all love. Or for their schools or clubs they represent. But for flag and country.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photos courtesy of rivals.ph, spin.ph

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