UNLIKE in its past iterations, Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas (LVPI) is giving the new national team pool ample of time to prepare for the big tournaments later this year.
And that only brings a smile to Alyssa Valdez's face.
"I think the crucial part of this team is kung gaano kami makakatagal kasi ngayon ang pinakamatagal na magpe-prepare kami. Before, a month or less than a month lang yung preparation namin. Ngayon, January pa lang nasimulan na," she said.
"It's a good start, a good sign na mas matagal natin paghahandaan, mas seryoso yung team at bumubuo ng national team."
Valdez led the 37 women who heeded the call and attended Day One of the national team tryouts on Thursday at Arellano Gym in Taft as coach Shaq delos Santos laid down the groundwork for the women's seniors and under-23 teams.
And with this big turnout, the three-time UAAP MVP couldn't help but gush over the amount of talent this pool has.
"Definitely, mas marami. I think malaking pool ang gagawin para mas malakas tayo sa mga tournaments at ine-expect talaga namin na maraming talents at skills ang makikita natin para mas maging malakas tayo sa mga tournaments na darating," she said.
The pressure is on for the LVPI to deliver results in the big tournaments it is set to participate on this year, and Valdez knows that there's no other better time for the Philippines to show that it belongs with the best the region than now.
"It's not just participating, but giving your all and winning something for the country," she said, as she goes for a spot in the squads for the 2019 Asian Women's Volleyball Championship in Seoul, South Korea and most especially, the 2019 Southeast Asian Games here.
"Very idealistic na ine-aim natin mag-gold, pero sa tinatakbo naman na maagang magstart, di naman malayo if paghahandaan natin. Sana maganda talaga ang kahinatnan ng sacrifices at paghahanda natin this year."