Laguna Sports Complex
March 22, 2015
For Flag and Country
If I was told that Alyssa Valdez and Abigail Marano is playing side by side last year or a few years back, I wouldn’t have believed it. After all, Valdez and Marano belonged from one spectrum to another in those capsules of time.
As we all know, Valdez is with Ateneo, breathing the air at the tree-lined Loyola campus in Katipunan Road while Marano was with La Salle, walking the traffic-infested and polluted Taft Ave. in Manila. Ateneo and La Salle, of course, are the fiercest of rivals in Philippine collegiate sports. It’s like Army and Navy in US college football. Or Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov in chess. Perhaps Ginebra and Alaska during the days of Sonny Jaworski when never-say-die is a bye-word.
They’re like the yin and yang or fire and ice. Teaming them up is like making His Airness Michael Jordan play with the hated Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons, the NBA’s original Bad Boys. It’s like putting Floyd Mayweather and Bob Arum in a locked cubicle. So yes, making them play side by side just NEVER would have happened in those days.
But it is today. The month of March and summer looming over the horizon. And things change. And for the good of us all and Philippine volleyball, Valdez and Marano are setting aside the old rivalry and playing together. The two were named into the national pool that will train together and compete in the Asian Under-23 Championship the country will host in May and the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore this June.
Like Valdez and Marano, Ateneo’s Bea de Leon and Jia Morado and La Salle’s Kim Fajardo will also shed their differences and join forces. Also named by the Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. were San Sebastian’s Gretchel Soltones, Marivic Meneses and Alyssa Eroa, University of Santo Tomas’ EJ Laure, Far Eastern U’s Christine Agno, Arellano U’s CJ Rosario and National University’s Myla Pablo.
Sisters Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Jaja Santiago, who also fought many UAAP and Shakey’s V-League battles against Valdez and Marano, will also don the national colors. Count Aiza Maizo, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rhea Dimaculangan too.
Roger Gorayeb is coaching the team with Sammy Acaylar as assistant. Ateneo mentor Tai Bundit has graciously offered his services as consultant. A welcome development.
I hope others do the same. Regardless of affiliations. Because Valdez and Marano and 15 other brave souls did it.
All former enemies.
And they’re doing all that for pride.
For us Filipinos.
Most importantly, for flag and country.
(Photos courtesy of spin.ph, Volleyball PH Photo Albums and August dela Cruz of Inquirer)
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