UAAP coaches Oliver Almadro of Ateneo and Godfrey Okumu of the University of the Philippines are grateful for the spot talent from all over the country provided by the Rebisco Volleyball League National Finals Girls 18 and Under.
Almadro and Okumu were among the college coaches who watched the games on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, not just to spot potential players but to support the grassroots program.
UP’s second-year Kenyan coach admitted that most of the rookies from his team right now came from last year’s edition of the RVL. That’s the reason he is back and on the lookout for more diamonds in the rough.
“I would be honest with you that this where I got some of my players. The rookies that joined my team this year, most of them, we saw them in this tournament,” Okumu said. “That’s why I’m here trying to witness the young volleyball players trying to fight it out.”
“We are so grateful as coaches because Rebisco has brought the good players to us, unlike going out there looking for the players,” he added. “Now they’re here, we can talk to their coaches, talk to their management and so I’ve seen the player, spoken to the player face to face.”
Almandro bared some of the high school players seeing action in the week-long tournament among 12 teams - including three from overseas - have either tried out or have already committed to the Lady Eagles.
“I really recruit what I need, marami dito nagpunta na ng Ateneo, nag-try out na, nakausap na namin,” Almadro said. “Pinapanood ko na lang naman na sila ngayon so may iba naman na bago na nakita ko dito.
"Hindi kami nagre-recruit ng sobrang dami. Kasi for me naka-program na yan the past few years, so alam na namin kung ano 'yung mga kailangan namin.”
Aside from providing a hunting ground for college recruiters, Rebisco, through the RVL, has given Philippine volleyball a major boost by developing players at the grassroots level, Almandro and Okumu said.
Almadro, whose team has been backed by Rebisco for so long, knew that the company’s goal is to help Philippine volleyball reclaim its glory years.
“Rebisco is a blessing to Philippine volleyball. Rebisco is spending, giving their support without counting the cost. They just want the volleyball program in the county na maging okay, na with their guidance maka-balik tayo sa podium at least man lang sa Southeast Asia,” Almadro said.
“Rebisco is doing a great job. Imagine, if tayo lang akala natin nasa Manila lang lahat ng magagaling na young athletes pero meron pa pala doon (sa mga ibang regions).”
"What makes this kind of tournament very special is we have all players from all over the Philippines coming to play the same tournament," he said.