• Enough of prima donnas in volleyball



    “The first thing we want to see in these aspirants is their commitment,” Francis Vicente said last week, referring to at least four players who, at this writing, will have sat it out and consequently forfeited their chance to make it to the women’s national volleyball team that will compete in the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Kuala Lumpur in August this year.

    “This event is the ultimate test not only [of]their skills and talent but also [of]their character and commitment to serve the national team,” Vicente, head coach of the Philippine women’s volleyball squad, added.

    The event scheduled for Monday, May 15, at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City, was the “Clash of Heroes” that was meant to serve as the final tryout not only for the women’s team (18 slots) but also for its male counterpart (also 18 places).

    But female star players who are touted as shoo-ins in the national team led by Alyssa Valdez were reported to be not interested to join the tryout.

    Valdez and three others—Myla Pablo, Elaine Kasilag and Gretchel Soltones—supposedly begged off to avoid any injury that could affect their performance in the professional Premier Volleyball League.

    Apparently, the private companies fielding the four players in the popular league think that these girls are better off selling bottled water and crunchy cookies, not the Philippines as a Southeast Asian volleyball-playing country that used to dominate the biennial regional games with the likes of Vangie de Jesus and Thelma Barina.

    Valdez and company, without doubt, have prov­en themselves as outstanding collegiate players in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

    Apparently, they have failed Coach Francis’ “Character and Commitment Test.”

    Valdez, Pablo, Kasilag and Soltones, however, cannot be blamed entirely for their apparent refusal to honor flag and country with their presumable inclusion in the national women’s volleyball team because their stars can and will only shine briefly.

    In this country where star athletes are eventually succeeded by those shining more brilliantly, the decision not to risk injury is a practical one for Valdez and her three colleagues.

    The latest snag in forming the men’s and women’s national volleyball teams came on the heels of the FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) acknowledging the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) as the sport’s governing body in the Philippines, not the Philippine Volleyball Federation.

    “I hope that this [FIVB’s recognition of the LVPI] settles everything as far as volleyball in the Philippines is concerned.

    Apparently not everything, with Valdez and company seemingly playing prima donna and with Marck Espejo “doubtful” for the Clash of Heroes.

    To think that Espejo was one of those reportedly “overlooked” when invitations were sent to other stars in men’s volleyball in the Philippines to try out for Kuala Lumpur.

    The Clash of Heroes, in fact, is a concession to this Ateneo player.

    To prevent any more problems obstructing the formation of the men’s and women’s volleyball squads to the 29th SEA Games, the LVPI had better shut the door on reluctant and apparently uncommitted players, with all due respect to their personal decisions not to serve the country.


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