ALYSSA Valdez will be flying in to make it to the Davao leg of the national team tryouts on February 25.
The three-time UAAP MVP is set to arrive on Davao on the 25th from Thailand, where she is seeing action for 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League.
National team coach Francis Vicente, who was tasked by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. to form the team that will compete in the Asian U-23 Championship, Asian Women’s Seniors Championship and Southeast Asian Games, confirmed that Valdez sent him a message expressing her intention to join the tryout.
“Siya ang kumontak sa akin. ‘Yun lang naman ang hinihintay ko eh,” he said.
The former Ateneo star missed the Manila leg of tryouts last January 28, 29 and 31 as her debut with 3BB Nakornnont fell exactly on the second day of the tryouts.
Meanwhile, the Cebu leg started on Saturday and will end on Sunday.
Although Valdez has already served the country and became the flag bearer during the last edition of the SEA Games, which was held in Singapore, Vicente still pointed out that she needs to show up in the tryouts.
The veteran mentor, who discovered Valdez in Batangas and recruited her to play for the University of Santo Tomas high school team, reiterated that there’s no special treatment even if he’s drawing flak for requiring Valdez to try out.
“Kasi ang point ko rito, marami ang nagsasabi na mayabang daw ang dating ko. Hindi eh, it’s (a) fair (process),” he said.
Even current and former UAAP stars like Jaja and Dindin Santiago, Aby Marano, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Ara Galang, Mika Reyes and Denden Lazaro also attended the Manila leg tryout.
“Gaya ni Jaja, si Jaja pinagbawalan ni Roger (Gorayeb) pero si Jaja was there. She took the exams except the physical, alam naman natin na naglalaro si Jaja eh. Physically fit eh,” he said.
“Pero ‘yung intention of being there that means a lot. It means her desire to join the team is there, tatlong araw siyang nandoon,” he added.
“Tapos si Dindin, alam naman natin na may anak siya na dapat bantayan pero nandoon (sa tryout). Si Aby Marano nandoon. Kahit na isang araw si Aiza nandoon din, nandoon sina Ara Galang, si Mika Reyes, si Denden Lazaro. ‘Yun ang point ko doon eh (magpakita ka lang),” he continued.
Vicente, who missed the first day of Cebu tryouts due to his coaching duties with University of the East, has already assigned his assistant Brian Esquivel and Nene Ybanez to make their preliminary selection.
Ybanez was a member and eventual MVP of the legendary women’s volleyball team that won the country’s last gold medal in the SEA Games back in 1993.
After the nationwide search, there will be an extra tryout to give collegiate players a chance.
“Meron (tryout) para sa collegiate (players) kasi mayroon ako dito na napipili eh. Pero ito by invitation na lang parang handpick kasi sa school ‘yan eh. Kailangang formal ang paalam. May mga napipili kasi ako na very qualified,” said Vicente, who will fly to Cebu for the Sunday tryout.
LVPI will announce the formal lineup of the pool by the end of February.