April 13, 2018
Philsports Arena, Pasig City
Lucky Friday the 13th
Today is Friday the 13th.
If you’re a superstitious person like yours truly, you may have been on high alert, doing almost every trick in the book to keep the bad side of the universe at bay.
Thankfully, it turned out the opposite. At least as far as Philippine volleyball is concerned because (FINALLY!) the national women’s volleyball team is revived with a new coach in La Salle’s Ramil de Jesus and the players who attended are the best of the best from different school affiliations and leagues, not just one.
And we have several thoughts:
If there is a coach that deserves to get the call, it should be someone who had done and won it. And De Jesus fits the bill as he has won championships for La Salle in the UAAP and F2 Logistics in the Phl Superliga. Interestingly, De Jesus will return as national team mentor 13 years after steering the country to its last medal in the Southeast Asian Games—a bronze in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games in Manila. You see, there is that No. 13 again.
Alyssa Valdez is part of it. I can’t imagine a national squad without the country’s best player. It’s like the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron James.
Kim Fajardo and Jia Morado, the country’s top two best setters, are present. It means we have an assurance that we will not have problems in that positions in case (knock on wood) an untoward thing happens. It’s like Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry are playing together. I’m already feeling ecstatic just thinking of it.
Ms. Everywhere and the Ninja are there. Since we’re bringing in the best, we might as well get the best liberos in there. And Dawn Macandili and Melissa Gohing fits the description.
Jaja Santiago, who is tipped to win the UAAP MVP plum this season, is also present and a must for a team needing one of the country’s top players.
Deep bench. Imagine de Jesus having the luxury to have every weapon and artillery at his disposal. Name it. Almost everybody is there. Aby Marano. Dindin Manabat. Cha Cruz. Kim Dy. Majoy Baron. Sisi Rondina. Ara Galang. Maika Ortiz. MJ Philips. Rebecca Rivera.
Ateneo’s Bea de Leon, Jho Maraguinot and Maddie Maddayag must show up next time. The country needs you.
If we want more firepower, we should not miss on Myla Pablo and Grethcel Soltones.
Although I felt, we should have a sustained volleyball program similar to Gilas Pilipinas in basketball, I’m happy that this is a good restart for the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI). We got to start somewhere. And this is the best way to do it. The harder part is getting someone to bankroll this team and sustain the momentum.
Don’t expect big things in the Asian Games just yet. I mean four months of preparation won’t get you anywhere. The endgame is the Southeast Asian Games. If we medal there next year here in Manila, assuming the LVPI keeps the team and the pool, then we think of bigger things like Asian level competitions.
I commend the LVPI for getting players from both ends of Phl volleyball spectrum. For flag and country, let’s set aside whatever differences between the warring factions and just focus on the goal at hand, which is reclaiming whatever we lost in more than a decade of decadent volleyball. We won a SEAG gold in the past, I’m sure we could do it again. Just keep the faith.
Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar
(Photo by Jerome Ascano of Spin.ph)