ONCE again, the local volleyball community proved that Filipinos are indeed the best fans in the world.
On October 3, Petron star Mela Tunay started a jersey auction to help raise funds for Jovelyn Gonzaga's nephew, Calix Vander.
United for a good cause, fans set aside their differences as teams from the Philippine Super Liga and Premier Volleyball League donated their playing uniforms for the benefit of the three year-old boy who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
In a span of 10 days, a considerable amount was raised despite the bidding period being cut short on October 13 due to the immediacy of CV's treatments.
"Ang saya kasi nakakatulong ka and siguro kaya ganito rin 'yung outpour ng support kasi si Ate Jov 'yung tinutulungan," said Tunay, who, along with Jovelyn's longtime friend and Cignal teammate Rachel Anne Daquis, initiated the jersey action.
She added, "Si Ate Jov kasi, gaya nga noong post ko, dedicated and committed siya sa mga teams niya and nakikita 'yun ng tao kaya binabalik lang nila sa kanya 'yung dedication and commitment na binibigay niya."
Nineteen volleyball teams from both the PSL and PVL — Petron, F2 Logistics, Foton, Generika-Ayala, PLDT, Cignal, Sta. Lucia, Marinerang Pilipina, Creamline, Petro Gazz, BanKo, Philippine Army, Choco Mucho, Motolite, BaliPure, Ateneo, NU Nazareth School, University of Santo Tomas, and National University — participated in the fundraiser.
Volleyball coaches Kungfu Reyes and Ian Fernandez, men's national team skipper John Vic de Guzman, and 11 professional and collegiate basketball players — Ricci Rivero, Alex Cabagnot, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Robert Bolick, Aljon Mariano, Scottie Thompson, June Mar Fajardo, Dave Ildefonso, Shaun Ildefonso, and Aljun Melecio — also extended their assistance.
Meanwhile, the late Olympian Ian Larriba's jersey was also donated by her bestfriend, who said that if the undefeated UAAP table tennis champion was alive, she would do the same.
"May mga ibang tao nagsasabi na, 'Grabe naman 'yung [bid],' pero ako, kung mayaman lang ako, ganoon din ang gagawin ko. Kasi naka-connect ka na sa idol mo and nakatulong ka pa," said Tunay, who was behind the previous jersey auction for Lariba.
"Ang saya pa kasi for once walang mga bashers, nagkaisa talaga ang volleyball community," she added. "As in 'yung support ng volleyball community solid talaga, dito mo mararamdaman 'yung I-got-your-back attitude ng volleyball community, from the athletes to the fans, lahat talaga nagkakaisa."
"Hindi lang naman ako ang admin, kasama ko si Ate Rachel and 'yung Team Daquis, tulung-tulong talaga kami," she continued. "Although minsan nakakapagod kasi siyempre hindi rin naman madali ang magpa-jersey auction pero kasi for a good cause ito."