JOVELYN Gonzaga, Rhea Dimaculangan, and Maika Ortiz will not join the Philippine women’s volleyball team to the upcoming VTV Invitational Cup as the three military athletes failed to get a release from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) secretary general Ricky Palou confirmed Gonzaga, Dimaculangan, and Ortiz failed to secure their Detailed Service (DS) order from the AFP in time to join the team in its departure to Vietnam on Wednesday morning.
A DS order is a requirement for all national athletes who are in the military so they can be released from their mother units and join their respective teams for training and competition.
“Hindi sila napayagan,” said Palou.
Gonzaga is detailed with the Philippine Army while Dimaculangan and Ortiz are with the Air Force.
The trio's non-availability is the latest setback for a team left without key players including Alyssa Valdez, who took a respite following a grueling schedule after competing in the UAAP, Asian Under-23 Championship, and the SEA Games.
Also out of the team are national team mainstays Rachel Anne Daquis, Denden Lazaro, Jaja Santiago, Jia Morado, Gretchel Soltones, Bea De Leon, and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas out for varying reasons.
That left Aby Marano and Dindin Santiago-Manabat as the only holdovers from the women's volleyball team that competed in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Gonzaga, Dimaculangan, and Ortiz were part of the team that competed in the Singapore Games last month. Gonzaga was the skipper of the team.
Risa Sato, Myla Pablo, Janine Marciano, Honey Royse Tubino, Suzanne Roces, and Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone were the recent additions to the team.
Palou, however, assured the team will still have 12 players as the three already have replacements, although their names are still being verified by the LVPI official as of posting time.
“Naghanap si Roger (Gorayeb) at ‘yung coaching staff. Hindi ko pa alam kung sino dahil kahapon lang ‘to nangyari,” said Palou.
The wait for the DS order of military athletes actually covers all national teams with nine boxers including Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga still waiting for the release so that they could start their build-up for the qualifying events in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
The memorandum of agreement between the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the AFP lapsed last June 30 with the PSC working on an extension of the MOA for the seamless release of military athletes to the national team.