LARONG Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) president Joey Romasanta defended national head coach Roger Gorayeb and his coaching staff amid claims of favoritism over the selection of players for the women’s volleyball team bound for the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Romasanta admitted the exclusion of certain players from the Final 12 particularly of Aiza Maizo-Pontillas has caused an uproar on social media sites, but pointed out that the job of picking 12 players from an initial pool of 30 aspirants was not an easy task for Gorayeb and his staff.
“If there is someone who is frustrated about not picking everybody, it’s the coaching staff,” said Romasanta on Friday during the announcement of the 12-woman team on Sports Radio 918.
Maizo-Pontillas was officially cut from the final 12, just days after her premature announcement on Twitter of her non-inclusion sparked outrage from fans who felt the former University of Santo Tomas star deserved a spot more than incoming Ateneo sophomore Bea De Leon.
Without naming names, Romasanta said Gorayeb and the coaching staff had to base selections not purely on talent but on the requirements in different positions.
“With the long list of 30, 12 lang ang pipiliin. At the same time, sa labing-dalawa, hindi naman pare-pareho ang puwesto. Kagaya ng libero, isa lang. ‘Yung setter, dalawa. Utility dalawa, kung minsan tatlo ang kandidato. Sa blocker, tatlo ang kandidato. Napakahirap,” said Romasanta, who is also Philippine Olympic Committee vice president.
“Halos pare-pareho din naman ang kalibre nila. Kaya lang, sa pananaw ng mga coaches, in terms of what they need and considering the other athletes who are part of the mix, pinag-iisipan nila mabuti ‘yan. Hindi po madali para sa coaching staff na mamili,” said Romasanta.
At the same time, Romasanta said he understands the criticisms.
“It (volleyball) is so popular at may kanya-kanya silang fans,” said Romasanta.
Now that the final 12 has finally been revealed, Romasanta said the task now is for the national squad to play as a team in its return to the SEA Games after a decade-long absence.
“All of this 12 at kung sino man ang makukuha pa, we all have roles to play. Kahit giving encouragement, malaking bagay na rin ‘yun. We have to work as a team regardless of what role we will play,” said Romasanta.