FOR more than a year, John Vic de Guzman, like all the volleyball players in the country, was limited to online workouts and individual training like weightlifting and ball drills at home during this pandemic.
On Thursday, De Guzman and 30 other aspirants finally returned to action during the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc. tryouts for the 20-man pool of the men’s national team at Subic Gym.
It felt like forever for the longtime Philippine men’s volleyball team captain and his fellow players, who mostly played their last competitive volleyball game in the last quarter of 2019 in Spikers’ Turf and their historic silver medal run in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“Walang kasing sarap sa pakiramdam humawak at pumalo ng bola sa court. For the entire year puro bakal lang ang nakakasama ko,” the College of Saint Benilde standout said.
All these 31 players were still shaking off the rust from a year of inactivity and adjusting to the health and safety protocols like wearing a face mask while playing.
“Kanina sa tryout ang gaan sa pakiramdam kahit hirap huminga sa face mask at maraming protocols,” De Guzman said.
Despite their adjustments to new normal volleyball and playing for limited time, it felt great for the star opposite spiker to see his fellow players back on the court and compete against each other for a national pool spot.
“Yung makasama mo yung mga kapatid mo na may isang goal na mag-serve ulit sa Pilipinas sa volleyball, sapat na dahilan na yun para hindi magreklamo sa hirap at pagod,” he said.
De Guzman hopes that this is the start of the men’s national team’s gold medal quest since time is not on their side unlike rival countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
“Kakaunti na rin yung oras, kailangan na magsimula agad para makuha pa rin yung goal natin this SEA Games,” he said.
With the one year inactivity of Philippine volleyball, De Guzman had a chance to do his other passion as an actor for GMA 7 and as a model for a clothing line.
If he makes it to the 20-man pool, De Guzman is willing to give his full commitment to the team and set aside his showbiz career for his dream to help the Philippine men’s volleyball team capture the gold medal in the SEA Games.
“Kung papalarin akong makapasok ulit sa lineup, aasahan nila yung cooperation ko at 100% focus ko sa training, pause po muna ang showbiz at modeling,” De Guzman said. “Balik muna tayo sa priority natin na pagiging atleta tapos after SEA Games tuloy na tayo ulit sa mga trabaho sa harap ng camera.”
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