When Alohi Robins-Hardy arrived in the country to play for United Volleyball Club in the Philippine Superliga, joining the women’s national team wasn’t part of her plan.
The Fil-Am setter only decided to take a shot at becoming part of the women’s national volleyball pool with a little persuasion from UVC teammate and friend Kalei Mau and inspiration from cousin Gabe Norwood.
“No, it wasn't part of the plan,” Robins-Hardy said. “But, I'm blessed and excited for this opportunity to be able to represent this country.”
“I think Kalei always had a part of it. I think seeing my cousin Gabe be part of the national team for basketball, I think really helps,” she said.
Mau, who used to be Robins-Hardy’s rival back in high school in Hawaii, had a hand in recruiting the 6-foot-3 setter both for UVC and the women’s national pool.
“I actually reached out to Alohi, who I've known since high school. She was on my mind for a long time,” Mau said. “I would tell and share with her some of my experiences here and how great it's been and how much I love it here, how much I love the sport even more being here. She was about it. She wanted to see it for herself.”
Mau was glad that the former Brigham Young University player in US NCAA's Division 1 expressed her commitment to play for the Philippines.
“I'm really happy that she decided to come, that's she's on my team now, and that we can grow together,” Mau said. “We're the two Hawaiians on the team; we're Filipino-Hawaiians. We're gonna have a strong bond for the rest of our lives because of this.”
Alohi admitted that she is still adjusting to playing in the Philippines and not yet familiar with the other players in the 22-woman pool.
But she is confident that the can build a great chemistry in time for the Southeast Asian Games.
“I think we'll be able to jel well,” Robins-Hardy said. “I've seen some of the girls playing in the PSL Grand Prix so we've got a lot of players on this team. It's gonna be exciting.”