ATENEO officials said on Wednesday that contrary to the claim of the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI), Jia Morado, Marck Espejo and other players of the school did not receive any invitation to join the tryouts for the national team.
The training pool for the women's and men's national volleyball teams were bared on Tuesday by the LVPI, with Lady Eagles setter Morado conspicuously missing from the women's lineup and many-time UAAP MVP Espejo the odd man out in the men's side.
National women's team coach Francis Vicente later explained his deputy, Brian Esquibel, handed the invitation to Morado, Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag to join the special tryouts held for UAAP and NCAA players on Sunday.
The players didn't respond to the invitation, Vicente added.
The claim, however, was belied by former Ateneo athletic director Ricky Palou and Lady Eagles team manager Tony Boy Liao.
"The players said they didn't get any (invitation), and if the athletics office got the invitation, they would have asked the players also, 'di ba?" said Palou.
"None of our players received an invitation, men's or women's," he added.
[See PH coach struggles to explain Jia Morado's non-inclusion in national pool]
Vicente later included Madayag and Tolentino in his 25-woman pool while keeping out Morado.
Granting the three received invitations, the special tryout called by the LVPI for UAAP and NCAA players was already in conflict with the collegiate league's games held on the same day.
"Dahil nga number one, may on-going UAAP, and number two, may klase (kaya hindi nakapag-tryout)," said Liao. "So talagang 'yung oras (conflict)."
Liao said Espejo also didn't receive an invitation to join the tryouts.
"Same thing with si Marck Espejo, hindi siya nakakuha ng imbitasyon at sinasabi naman ni Oliver (Almadro, Ateneo men's coach) na may klase, may UAAP kaya hindi nakapag-try out. Hindi ko lang alam kung meron silang pa-tryout for the UAAP teams. Sinasabi na Linggo? May game rin ng Linggo."
National men's coach Sammy Acaylar said he excluded Espejo from his list since he didn't show up for the tryouts, but kept the door open for the Ateneo star if he shows up for training.
Liao, however, said they will only allow the players to join the tryout at the end of the UAAP campaign.
"Kami definitely, we won't allow them, lalo na if mag-finals kami. We're leading, No. 1. Kung mag-finals kami, kawawa naman ang mga players namin. So 'yun ang hihintayin namin ngayon, kung saan kami malalagay," he said.