YOUNG stars Eya Laure, Faith Nisperos, Mhicaela Belen, Alyssa Solomon, Jennifer Nierva, Ivy Lacsina and Kamille Cal were among the 16 players who joined the Philippine women’s volleyball pool tryouts on Wednesday at Subic Gym.
Jaja Santiago led the sprinkling of veterans who showed up for the Philippine National Volleyball Federation-organized tryout overseen by head coach Odjie Mamon for the women’s pool in this year’s Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
Japan V.League import Santiago and Laure, the youngest member of the 2019 women’s national team, and Chery Tiggo teammate Mylene Paat all showed up wearing their PPE-inspired practice gear from their mother PVL team.
Ateneo’s rising star Nisperos also joined the tryouts along with former Nazareth School standouts turned Lady Bulldogs Nierva, Lacsina, Belen, Solomon and Cal as well as University of Santo Tomas middle blocker Imee Hernandez and incoming rookie libero Bernadette Pepito.
Former national team captain Aby Marano, middle blockers Majoy Baron, Ria Meneses and Dell Palomata as well as setter Iris Tolenada, a late replacement after Jovelyn Gonzaga's withdrawal, also participated in the the one-day tryout.
All the participants from the players to the coaches wore masks the entire procedings in accordance with health and safety protocols set by Dr. Raul Canlas, medical commission head of both the PNVF and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
“The federation puts the health and safety of the participants in equal footing with our goal of forming the national teams as soon as possible,” PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara, adding the teams will be fielded in the Hanoi SEA Games in November and possibly the Asian Women’s Championships in August — in the event the Asian Volleyball Confederation awards the hosting chores to the country.
National Teams Commission head Tony Liao said on Tuesday that these 16 players are likely to earn their spots in the 25-member pool.
23 players missed the tryout due to fears of getting sick with the virus including the previous national team members Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado, Rhea Dimaculangan, Ces Molina, Maddie Madayag, Dawn Macandili and Kath Arado.
MJ Phillips couldn’t join the tryouts as she was forced to go into quarantine after a staff in her Sta. Lucia team tested positive for Covid-19 only recently.
Kalei Mau, Kianna Dy, Kim Fajardo, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Alohi Robins-Hardy, Jasmine Nabor, MJ Philips, Myla Pablo, Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon, Risa Sato, Denden Lazaro-Revilla and Marist Layug as well as junior players Angel Canino, Thea Gagate, Lorene Toring and Alleiah Malaluan also did not attend.
The coaches of the four national teams will deliberate on May 1 over their respective 25-member pools before PNVF president Tats Suzara makes the announcement on May 7.
The federation is eyeing to start the bubble training of all teams by May 15 in Subic.
“When the training begins tentatively on May 15 in Subic, the coaches specially in the women’s volleyball team will analyze if the pool will be good to play in the forthcoming Hanoi SEA Games. If not, a possible second tryout will be called,” Liao said.