THE V-Belles team that recently represented the Philippines in the FIVB Women’s World Championship qualifiers in Vietnam has so much potential it should be kept intact for future international tournaments.
Coach Roger Gorayeb made this plea on Thursday, saying the V-Belles have the pieces necessary that, given a little more seasoning and training, could do the Philippines proud in future competitions overseas.
“Dapat talaga ituloy para sa akin, kasi wala ka ng hahanapin dito sa team na ito,” said Gorayeb, who called the shots for the team that finished with a 1-2 (win-loss) record in the Vietnam qualifiers,
“Kasi dito, bata tsaka matangkad. Lahat may potential.”
Under Gorayeb, the V-Belles beat Myanmar and lost to Vietnam and Indonesia as they prepared for the meet for only a little more than a week after the Asian Volleyball Confederation gave the Philippine Olympic Committee the authority to form a team for the qualifiers.
The team was led by sisters Jaja and Dindin Santiago, and Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez and included a slew of young stars from the Shakey’s V-League and the collegiate ranks.
“’Yung hinahanap mong component sa isang team, nandyan na. Pero hindi overnight ‘yan. Ang kagandahan, bata sila bago pa ‘yan mag-mature, maayos na laro nila. Hindi katulad kung ngayon ka mag-train na may mga edad na,” said Gorayeb.
The Ateneo and San Sebastian head coach said inexperience was very obvious during the team’s first game, but added he was surprised to see the players hold their own against seasoned opponents.
“Very evident noong first game, ninenerbyos sila kasi first time nila naglaro sa international competition. Malalaki ang mga kalaban at puro collegiate players lang kami," he said.
“Pero hinangaan din sila doon kasi iba rin ‘yung laro nila doon, nakakasabay sila. Nagugulat din ako. Kaya lang, at a certain point lang sila makakasabay kasi lumalabas din ‘yung pagkabata,” said Gorayeb.
The V-Belles' future, however, is uncertain as they have not been given given recognition by the Philippine Volleyball Federation as the legitimate women’s national team.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia also doubted if the V-Belles can qualifty to compete in the Southeast Asian Games as per the criteria of the SEA Games Task Force which only allows potential gold medal winners to see action in Myanmar later this year.
Gorayeb, though, would rather not delve on the off-court issues.
“Sa akin naman, ayoko na muna sila intindihin. What is important is mag-exist ‘yung mga bata at magkaisa muna lahat. ‘Yan na ‘yung mga bata, huwag na basagin, eto na lang,” said Gorayeb.