Coach Shaq begins tough process of picking 20 players for PH pool for Asiad
Mika Reyes and Denden Lazaro enjoy a light moment during training. Jerome Ascano

NATIONAL volleyball coach Shaq delos Santos hopes to come up with an official lineup for the Asian Games either late Thursday or early Friday in time for the submission of the entries by name to the Philippine Sports Commission.

Delos Santos said he and his assistants Kungfu Reyes and Bryan Esquibel will deliberate on the selections after the training on Thursday at Arellano University gym in Legarda, Manila.

“After nito magmi-meeting kaming coaches,” he said.

The veteran mentor, who was appointed two weeks ago to replace Ramil de Jesus, said they plan to form an 20-woman pool from there the final 14, including the two reserves, will be picked.

The team is being formed to fly the flag in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games in August, the Asian Cup in September and the 30th Southeast Asian Games next year in Manila.

“Napakahirap na decision ang magbawas ng players na alam mong pwede mo naman (isama sa lineup), kung pwede lahat pero ganun talaga, ‘yun ang rules,” said delos Santos.

Despite nursing minor injuries, Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado showed up for training on Thursday, joining Jaja Santiago, Aby Maraño, Mika Reyes, Denden Lazaro, CJ Rosario, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan, Mylene Paat, Rebecca Rivera, and Ces Molina.

Myla Pablo also came but had to excuse herself due to training with Pocari Sweat-Air Force.

“Syempre happy ako kasi ‘yung mga ine-expect ko na dapat dumating nung Tuesday dumating sila ngayon. Para sa aming coaches and sa mga boss namin mas happy kami,” said delos Santos.

“Kasi mapagpaplanuhan namin kung sino mga dapat ilagay sa lineup,” he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinspin