PHILIPPINE National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) president Tats Suzara insisted that there is no politics involved in the formation of the women’s national pool.
Tats Suzara on non-inclusion of Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado
Suzara remained defiant about the non-inclusion of national team mainstays Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and other stars in the current 25-woman pool, reiterating that Brazilian consultant Jorge Edson Souza de Brito wanted younger players in rebuilding the program.
“There’s no politics. We don’t want to have politics in volleyball. We are trying very hard to make this happen,” said Suzara during his guesting in Power and Play hosted by Noli Eala on Saturday.
“In my first few days as president of the federation, when I presented my 10-point strategy, my first slogan was I want to change the landscape of volleyball in the Philippines in this presidency and this new federation.”
The PNVF president said the Brazilian coach and the coaching staff are credible and they scouted the players in their selection through videos and statistics.
However, Valdez, the top scorer of the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference, Best Setter Jia Morado and Best Libero Kath Arado were not included in the two national teams that saw action in the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship.
Choco Mucho and Rebisco placed in the bottom of the seven team-field in the continental club championship in Nakhon Ratchasima.
“We leave that decision for the selection of the players. The federation gets the recommendation from the coaches but again the dedication and the attitude of the national team player is really very important,” Suzara said. “We’re not talking here about popularity kung sinong gusto ng fans, kung sinong gusto ng media.”
Suzara said there will be no changes or addition until next year for the 25-woman pool, which has Kalei Mau, Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili, Tin Tiamzon, Rhea Dimaculangan, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, MJ Phillips, Jema Galanza, Deanna Wong, Aby Marano, Majoy Baron, Eya Laure, Mylene Paat, Iris Tolenada, Ria Meneses, Dell Palomata, Faith Nisperos, Jennifer Nierva, Mhicaela Belen, Ivy Lacsina, Kamille Cal, Bernadett Pepito, and Imee Hernandez.
The pool also includes Jaja Santiago, who is currently in Japan serving as import for Ageo Medics, and Kat Tolentino but she begged off from joining the teams in the Thailand showpiece due to health and safety concerns and was replaced by setter Angel Cayuna in the tournament.
“For me no, this will be the pool until next year since, we have a lot of big events next year,” he said. “In other countries the national team is not only 14 players. They have 20 to 25 players that any time the national team needs to travel for a championship, they just need to select the 14 players that need to go. This is now the new trend.”
Suzara hopes the national volleyball program will get more support from the fans just like with Gilas Pilipinas, which he cited as example that still gets a lot of moral support despite the non-inclusion of several PBA stars.
“There should be no difference between women’s volleyball and the PBA. Everybody should support the national team program,” he said. “Sometimes hindi naman natin maiiwasan ang mentality ng iba, crab mentality. But if you have the discipline, the mental fortitude, harmony among the athletes coaches and officials, that is a big factor for success.”
Suzara added Souza de Brito is eyeing a minimum of 50 matches for the Philippine women’s volleyball team next year to get more experience ahead of the upcoming leagues in 2022.
The 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi Vietnam is tentatively set in May 2022. The PNVF also postponed its hosting of the Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship to May next year.
Suzara bared that the PNVF is hosting "something big" next year.
“It will be something very big, something different that maybe the volleyball fans and the media will not expect this,” he said. “But I don’t want to announce it until the FIVB announce it. We have to wait. This is a very big event that the Philippines will host next year it will be something different. We are changing the landscape of volleyball now.”
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