NATIONAL coach Roger Gorayeb didn’t hide his intention to tap players aligned with the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) to become part of the Philippine team set to compete in the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Gorayeb admitted his desire to add experience to the 14-woman pool he recently formed for the Asian Under-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship to be held in Manila in May.
UAAP back-to-back MVP Alyssa Valdez and the Santiago sisters Dindin and Jaja lead the national pool under the supervision of the Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI).
Among the players aligned to the PVF who are on the radar of the multi-titled mentor are veteran setter Rhea Dimaculangan, Aiza Maizo, Jovelyn Gonzaga, and Rachel Ann Daquis.
“Nandoon sa kabila ‘yung iba naming gustong players. Si Rhea is the tallest setter na gusto namin, nandoon pa si Jov, si Aiza at si Rachel. Kung tutuloy sila dito sa amin masayang masaya kaming lahat,” said the veteran mentor.
At the same time, Gorayeb said he is aso ready for the possibility of the players turning down his invitation. In such a case, he’ll most likely settle for the same pool to form the national team to the SEA Games.
“Pero kung hindi, kung talagang ayaw nila, siguro, sabi nga nila, we'll stick dito sa na-form na Under-23 (team) and baka ‘yan na rin ang ipadala sa SEA Games. Baka, baka,” he said.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) recently withdrew its recognition of the PVF following the leadership crisis in the federation.
The crisis led to the creation of the LVPI which, later on, was given recognition not only by the POC but also by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).
But Gorayeb stressed playing for the national team should not have anything to do with loyalites to certain federations especially with the country eyeing to field a volleyball team to the SEA Games for the first time in 10 years.
“Sabi ko nga eh, we should always stay neutral,” he said. “Hindi dapat sumama ‘yung mga players, hindi nila problema ‘yung association eh, ang problema namin ‘yung mag represent ng bansa.”
“Noong 2005 pa tayo walang representation sa SEA Games, ano ba ‘yan,” Gorayeb added. “Tapos ‘yung volleyball dito pinasisikat natin tapos sa international wala tayong mai-represent. What's the use hanggang dito na lang? Palamuti na lang ang volleyball? Eh hindi naman pwede.”
The women’s team won a bronze medal during the 2005 SEA Games in Manila, while its men’s counterpart finished fourth.
“Loyalty should always stay with the country not with the association,” Gorayeb stressed.
The national coach, who steered Ateneo to back-to-back runner-up finishes in UAAP women’s volleyball in 2012 and 2013 and bagged multiple titles for San Sebastian in the NCAA, rued that disunity
“I can’t be loyal dito (LVPI), I cannot be loyal with PVF. (Yes) I sympathize with them, but ayaw ko naman mag-side sa kabila, ayaw ko naman mag-side (dito),”he said.