The Arena, San Juan
March 31, 2015

It is Holy Tuesday.
For most of us Christians and Catholics, it is the season of Lent. A time for reflection. Some of you, for sure, are planning to go out-of-town, if you hadn’t already, to enjoy the vacation while some of you are staying put. My family decided to do the latter and settle for a nice and quiet “staycation.” After all, this is the time of the year when Metro Manila enjoys a couple of days of rare traffic-free, quiet stretch.
As I was drinking my black coffee this morning, I’ve chanced upon a story by my good friend and colleague at The Philippine STAR, Joaquin Henson, or “The Dean” to most of us for his encyclopedic knowledge of sports. You see, he wrote something about the volleyball mess. It was aptly titled “Leave athletes out of politics.”
It is interesting to note that, as Quinito writes it:
“the POC General Assembly meeting in Wack-Wack a few days ago, officials of the disenfranchised Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) showed up with athletes to demonstrate a show of loyalty. IOC member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski was overheard advising the athletes to focus on studying, training and competing and stay out of messy politicking.”
“Apparently, the athletes were told to express support to the PVF before the General Assembly because they’re signed to contracts by the former NSA. But when asked about the binding clauses in their contracts, the athletes were in the dark. “I think it’s illegal to withhold copies of the contracts,” said Romasanta. “How can the athletes know what is deliverable? I sympathize with our athletes. They’re being manipulated and exploited. In volleyball, we’ve invited players to join the tryouts for the team competing at the Asian U23 Women’s Championships in Manila on May 1-9. We plan to reinforce the team with senior players for the Southeast Asian Games. Unfortunately, there are some players who are being restrained from joining the tryouts we’re conducting because they’re signed to contracts by the PVF. We’ve asked our lawyers to look into this and protect our athletes but we’re not being shown copies of the contracts.””
“Romasanta said there is talk that disgruntled individuals are planning to go to court and secure a TRO to stay the staging of the Asian U23 Championships. “If that’s true, it’s unfortunate,” he said. “Manila is hosting but the AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation) is staging the Championships. Will our courts go against the AVC? The international federation (FIVB) has recognized the LVPI as the new Philippine association for volleyball and the POC has accepted it as the NSA. If the PVF disagrees with this decision, it should take up the matter with the FIVB not the POC. At the moment, the PVF is no longer an entity recognized by the POC so it has lost its seat, voice and vote in the General Assembly.””
Aptly, Quinito ends his story with Romasanta saying:
“the LVPI is open to all volleyball stakeholders including those involved with the PVF. “It’s time to move forward,” he said. “The ultimate dream of an athlete is to represent his or her country but in women’s volleyball, we’ve been absent from the Southeast Asian Games for 10 years so the current crop of players has no notion of what it feels like to play with the national team. Our battlecry is to make volleyball the No. 2 premier sport in the Philippines next to basketball. In Thailand, sales of volleyballs are now higher than sales of basketballs. We’ve lagged behind in volleyball technology so there’s a lot of ground to cover.””

Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: I will just re-post what Theodore Jurado, one of the hardest working sportswriters from the People’s Journal working the beat, posted on his Facebook account:
“Look at what I saw at the Filoil Flying V Arena. 1993 Singapore Southeast Asian Games gold medal from Rosemarie Prochina. Yes! smile emoticon Our last PHI gold in women’s volleyball. :)”

And this from former Philippine Sports commissioner and national athlete Tisha Abundo also from Facebook:
“the philippine volleyball team bagged the silver medal with japan the olympic champion ’66 then got the gold. .opening ceremonies parade of athletes with the volleyball team. .’ayun ako o’ :)”

So athletes, what now?
Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photos courtesy of TJ Jurado and Tisha Abundo)


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