UNIVERSITY of the East stars Kath Arado and Me-Ann Mendrez are ready to fight for spots in the women’s national volleyball pool in open tryouts set on Thursday and Friday at the Arellano Law School of Law along Taft Avenue, Manila.
Arado and Mendrez last donned the national colors in the 19th Princess Cup Southeast Asian Women’s U-19 Championship in 2016 when the Philippines finished in fourth place and Arado won the Best Libero award.
The Larong Volleyball Sa Pilipinas Inc.-organized tryouts aim to expand its pool for four major tournaments this year namely: the AVC Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in China from April 20 to 28; the 3rd Asian Women’s Under-23 Volleyball Championship in Vietnam from July 13 to 21; 20th Asian Senior Women’s Championship in South Korea from August 31 to September 8; and the 30th Southeast Asian Games which the country will host from November 30 to December 10.
UE athletics director Rod Roque will be bringing Mendrez and Arado to the tryouts, saying the two are the most qualified players from the school to play for the country.
Mendrez has shown marked improvement since joining Petro Gazz in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2. She was named 2nd Best Outside Hitter in UE’s third place triumph in the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam.
The UE Spiker said getting a chance to play for the country in the Asian U-23 tilt will be a big break for her.
“Super laki po. Malaking bagay po kung mapasali ulit ako at ipaglaban ang bansa,” Mendrez said. “Kung papalarin po, paghihirapan.”
Arado, the reigning UAAP Best Digger and Best Receiver and PSL’s All-Filipino Conference and Collegiate Grand Slam Best Libero, is willing to give her full commitment for the national team this time as she is set to play out her final UAAP season, which will end in May just in time for the U-23 tournament in July.
“I must say na pwede na akong makapag-commit, makapag-kompetensiya. Pwede na akong makipagsabayan sa national team,” she said. “Kasi hindi pwedeng babastahin mo lang ang national team kasi kailangan mo yung commitment saka yung sacrifice.”
Arado tried out for a place in the Asian Games roster last year but she begged off to focus on her studies and training at UE as well as he stint with club team Generika-Ayala in the PSL.
This time, Arado is willing to play not only for the U-23 team but also for the seniors team if given a chance to play.
“Pwede naman po kung kaya. Kasi siyempre, matindi rin ang labanan eh. Hindi ko nila-lang ang ibang kompetensya ko sa pagiging libero kasi may experience na sila sa seniors team,” said Arado referring to national team mainstays Dawn Macandili and Denden Lazaro.
“So parang masasabi ko na kulang pa. Ita-try ko. If ever na bigyan ng pagkakataon dun iko-commit ko ang sarili ko.”