Sammy Acaylar 'touched' by Alfafara and Co.'s great desire to be part of national team
Mark Gil Alfafara is back with the Philippine men's volleyball team. Dante Peralta

NATIONAL head coach Sammy Acaylar said he decided to reinstate Mark Gil Alfafara, Bonjomar Castel, and Hershel Ramos after learning of how badly they want to play for the national team.

Alfafara, Castel, and Ramos are members of  Premier Volleyball League (PVL) squad Cignal that were included in the final 18 of the men’s national team after a change of heart by Acaylar, who initially dropped the three for their failure to show up in Monday’s Clash of Heroes exhibition match.

Acaylar, however, later learned the three players took the news of their non-inclusion hard that one of them even cried following the national coach’s statements on Monday.

Persons close to the team said it was Alfafara who cried over his non-inclusion.

“Siya ‘yung gustong-gusto talagang sumali sa national team. Nakita ko ‘yung puso niya talaga,” said Acaylar, when he called Alfafara’s name during the press conference on Friday.

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When SPIN.ph interviewed Acaylar after the presser, the national men’s coach said Alfafara, a former UAAP MVP, as well as Castel and Ramos asked for a second chance.

“Na-touch ako na during practice nila sa Cignal, I’ve heard na some of the players, ‘yung tatlo, umiyak kasi they want to play for the national team. Nag-reach out sila na kung puwede silang bigyan ng chance na mapatunayan nila na gusto nilang sumali sa national team.

“Na-touch ako kasi sino ba naman ako, hindi ako lumalaban para kung kanino kundi para sa bansa natin kaya um-okay na ako na mag-practice sila from Wednesday hanggang Friday,” said Acaylar.

With their commitment known, Acaylar selected the three Cignal players.

“May kulang talaga tayo sa gitna at sa open,” said Acaylar.

Acaylar said Alfafara, Castel, and Ramos have been training since Day One, but were also missing practices because of their commitment with Cignal.

“They have been training for us. I understand their situation sa Cignal,” said Acaylar.

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