Great White Hope

Philsports Arena
April 30, 2015
Great White Hope

It started with just four.
And, bless their hearts, it’s now 12.
Twelve brave souls have answered the call. There were more, but not everyone made it. Some decided to just hide in the dark. Maybe it’s not their fault. Probably scared of evil forces trying to ruin the team. A couple begged off and decided to play beach volleyball instead in paradise island Boracay. Some flatly said no.
Whatever.
The most important thing is we have a team we can call our own. They’re named Philippines or Pilipinas. Not any funny-sounding names that bored, uniamginative people invented just to be cute. They’re not.
And these 12 deserves special mention.
Alyssa Valdez.
Ria Meneses.
EJ Laure.
Jia Morado.
Jaja Santiago.
Gretchel Soltones.
Bea de Leon.
Myla Pablo.
Tin Agno.
Jhoanna Maraguinot.
Rissa Sato.
Ella de Jesus.

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Special mention to Elaine Kasilag and Alyssa Eroa, who were there but for some unavoidable things, they couldn’t make the team. Not that they don’t want to. They did. They were just victims of circumstances. So for me, they’re still part of the team. So kudos to you both.
And these girls overcame some obstacles.
Some laughed at them when, on Day One of training at the Blue Eagle Gym in Loyola, only four showed up. And then others followed. Nevermind that there were no sponsors. They spent their own money and time just to get that chance to represent the country. And then the t-shirts came with that small patch of our flag on the chest. And the team endured all that. All for flag and country.
Now the real battle begins as our girls, coached by Roger Gorayeb, Tai Bundit and Edjet Mabbayad, face off with the best the region can offer in the Asian Under-23 Women’s Championship unfolding on May 1. Whether or not we win, these girls are already winners. Heroes to each and everyone of us. So let’s go to the Philsports Arena and support them. And by heavens, they need us. Let’s reciprocate their sacrifice by cheering for them. They deserve our support.
And oh, wear white.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photos courtesy of Volleyball Photo Album PH)

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