Filipino sports fans are all up in arms to save Philippine volleyball as the women’s national volleyball team faces a crisis just weeks before a big competition. Here’s why #SavePhilippineVolleyball is trending online and what is currently happening to the national team.
National team to sub in PVL semis
Last Saturday, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) called the national team to replace Japan’s Kobe Shinwa Women’s University in the semi-finals round of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference. The Japanese team withdrew from the conference after one of its players tested positive for COVID-19 and other players were tagged as close contacts, rendering the team unable to travel.
According to Sports Vision president Ricky Palou, the PNVF believed the PVL semis could serve as a warmup for the national team. “The PNVF has agreed to field in the national squad, replacing the Japanese team, saying it would benefit the national team,” he said.
The national team exits PVL semis
However, just a day later, the national team announced they will not be joining the PVL semis. This comes after NU team manager Mariano See Diet refused to allow the NU players to join the PVL semis, citing concerns regarding risk of injury.
They are instead set to focus their efforts on the upcoming Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup later this month at the Philsports Arena in Pasig. The Philippine team will compete in Pool A against Iran, Vietnam, South Korea, and the AVC defending champion China.
PNVF sidelines national team
As the NU-bannered national women’a volleyball team pulls out of the PVL semis, the PNVF said it will release the NU student-athletes and coaches from the national team and will field the eventual PVL champs for the 2022 AVC Cup for Women. @gmasportsph
— JK Carandang (@jk_carandang) August 7, 2022
In what many netizens believed to be a retaliation, the PNVF removed the national team’s NU student-athletes as the country’s representative in the AVC. The PVL champion will take their place instead.
“We are now writing to inform your good office, though with much regret, that we shall be releasing the NU student-athletes and coaches from the National Training Program, effective today [Sunday], 7 August 2022,” PNVF President Ramon “Tats” Suzara wrote in an email to NU President Dr. Carlos Ermita Jr.
“We have been compelled to make this difficult yet important decision due to the recent turn of events within the team’s training schedule and corresponding availability. We feel that the said student-athletes and coaches, alongside the team manager Engineer Bing Diet, may not be able to commit to perform at their best level given a number of restrictions and conditions that hinder the continuous conduct of training and overall program,” the email continued.
“However difficult it may have been, please trust that with this decision, we have considered to serve only the best interests and utmost welfare of the student-athletes, the coaches, the university management, the national team program, while keeping aligned with PNVF’s strategic goals as a National Federation, fully responsible and accountable for the sport of volleyball in the Philippines.”
But NU players make up most of the national volleyball team
The national volleyball team is composed of 14 members. UAAP Season 84 champion National University (NU) currently has 12 members in the women’s national volleyball team, namely: UAAP rookie MVP Bella Belen, Finals MVP Princess Robles, UAAP Best Setter Lams Lamina, Best Libero Jennifer Nierva, Best Opposite Spiker Alyssa Solomon, Best 2nd Best Middle Blocker Sheena Toring, Ivy Lacsina, Kamille Cal, Joyme Cagande, and Nicole Mata. The national team is completed with Trisha Genesis from Akari Chargers and Jelai Gajero from California Precision Sports.
The young core team trains under Brazilian coach Jorge Souza de Brito, with NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan,fellow assistant coach Cherry Macatangay, trainer Jerome Guhit, and physical therapist Grace Gomez joining the national team’s staff.
Netizens call out PNVF
So sad for the NU girls. They don’t deserve this. PNVF just doesn’t know how to take care of our athletes. They are the future of the women’s volleyball. Ilang Alyssa Valdez calibers pa ang willing kayo sayangin, PNVF? No doubt kulelat tayo sa Asya! #OustRamonSuzara
— Lala (@thisislalabella) August 7, 2022
Following the removal of the student-athletes, many netizens called out PNVF and its president Ramon Suzara for what many deemed to be an unfair dismissal, trending the hashtag #SavePhilippineVolleyball. One claimed the athletes’ talents have been wasted before and are now being wasted again, while a couple of others found PNVF’s move childish and “disrespectful”. Netizens also trended the hashtag #OustRamonSuzara, calling for the replacement of PNVF’s current leadership.
Netizens compare the current issue with EJ Obiena’s dispute with PATAFA
Yung ginawa ni Philip Ella Juico kay EJ Obiena, ganun din ginagawa ni Tats sa NU girls now. Hopefully those who stood up for EJ also does the same for these volleyball players. Naparesign si Juico from PATAFA because of what he did. #MagresignKaNaTats #SavePhilippineVolleyball
— Animosetti (@GameSetAnimo) August 7, 2022
Some netizens have also compared the current issue faced by the women’s national volleyball team with the dispute between pole vaulter EJ Obiena and Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA). They are hoping for an outpouring of support for the women’s national volleyball team similar to what happened with Obiena. Another netizen also pointed out how there have been several sports officials who have done or said something that hindered athletes from doing what they do best.
No rest for the national team
IMO, NU’s concern is absolutely understandable: the NT will be playing virtually every day in the PVL semis, and will only have a week to rest/reset before competing in the AVC.
— Camille B. Naredo (@camillenaredo) August 7, 2022
Sports journalist Camille B. Naredo said she understood the decision, especially with how the national team’s schedule would be too tight if they competed in the PVL semis. Netizens agreed with her, with the tweet receiving over 700 likes.
— ً (@saintnierva) August 7, 2022
How can the Philippines keep athletes in the country when things are like this? Other athletes have already left to join other countries. Filipino athletes deserve better, and it’s time for the country to take care of them before it becomes the Philippines’ loss.
What are your thoughts on this issue?