UAAP stars were saddened by the sudden decision of the Larong Volleyball Sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) to pull the plug on the national teams' participation in several Asian Volleyball Confederation tournaments this year.
A number of college stars attended the LVPI-organized tryouts for the women’s national pool's seniors and Under-23 teams last January 24 and 25 at the Arellano School of Law gym and last February 3 at the Letran gym.
LVPI was supposed to send teams to the 2019 Asian Women’s Club Championship from April 27-May 5 in Tianjin, China; 3rd Asian U-23 Women’s U-23 Volleyball Championship from July 13-21 in Hanoi and the 20th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship from August 17-25 in Seoul, Korea as well as the Asian U-23 men’s tournament.
But those plans were scratched as the Philippines wasn’t part of the draw of the AVC 2019 tournaments on Tuesday at the Dusit Princess Srinakarin Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.
Eya Laure, arguably the top rookie this UAAP who tried out for the U-23 team, was sad after hearing the sudden development but remained hopeful that she can represent the country some day.
“Nalungkot ako pero pinag-pray ko na lang din yun kasi siguro hindi pa time ngayon. Pero madami pa namang dadating na mga liga sa international,” Laure said. “As a player sino ba namang hindi gusto na irepresent 'yung country. Dito muna tayo magfo-focus sa UAAP na lang.”
UP's Tots Carlos and Isa Molde, who joined the last tryouts last February, lamented that the decision was out of their control.
“Siyempre sad kasi at last naka-tryout kami tapos parang may possibility na kunin kami tapos naudlot pa,” Carlos said. “Wala naman na kami magagawa kasi 'yun 'yung desisyon nila, baka in the future yun talaga yung time namin. Pero in the future gusto ko maging maganda yung sistema ng volleyball sa Pilipinas.”
Molde shared the same sentiments.
“Siguro na-sad lang kasi yun na yung opportunity namin na makapaglaro sa Philippines, sa national team,” Molde said. “Kung ano man 'yung reason kung bakit nagkaganoon, siguro may better pang league or kung ano man nai-face.”
FEU star Jerrili Malabanan said she'd rather focus on her goal to deliver a championship for her school before she graduates than wallow in the bad news.
“Of course we want that opportunity to play but right now I think most of the people who are part of that are focused on the UAAP,” Malabanan said. “It’s a chance to represent the country but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
With the pullout, some college standouts are shifting their attention to the country's participation in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines.
Reigning UAAP Season 81 girls’ MVP Angel Canino of De La Salle, who turned heads during the tryouts, admitted that she was also disappointed over the lost chance to play for the U-23 national team.
“I did not expect that this will happen kasi nagpa-tryout na sila and a lot of volleyball players that are willing to help our country to get a medal and also the opportunity to play international,” Canino said. “Medyo disappointed po pero I leave it po sa kanila kung ano po dapat gawin and I also respect the decision of LVPI.”