Last Sunday was the culmination of the BanKo Perlas Spikers’ Guam tour. The team, which competes in the Premier Volleyball League, flew to the island to conduct a three-day indoor volleyball clinic to middle school and high school kids, as well as to participate in exhibition games sponsored by Hydrate International.
For most of the girls, this was the second time that they went to Guam for a volleyball event. It has always been a good experience for the ladies but every year it just keeps getting better. For one, they were fortunate enough to experience Thanksgiving along with Filipino families who also hosted the team’s trip to the island. Globally, Filipinos are known for being very hospitable and the team received the warmest greetings from its new Guam family. Also, this year focused mostly on indoor volleyball, which created the environment that very much helped in fortifying the relationships among the players and the coaches (although shopping seemed to be the most reliable group dynamic this time around).
I am amazed by how much our hosts gave value to the sport that they put in the time and effort to create this event. The team was able to share some inspirational words to the kids at St. Paul, and the common idea that they focused on was the opportunities that sports—in this case, volleyball —brought to them. Coincidentally, playing volleyball put all of the Perlas Spikers through college. The ladies were fortunate to attend various schools like Adamson, SWU, UE, UP and Ateneo and take note that getting free education from these institutions is a big deal! Beyond collegiate volleyball, they were also given opportunities to play in a club team, where they are now. It is such a privilege for them doing what they are passionate about. Some were given a different opportunity like being a sports analyst on TV, radio or newspaper. Others have also taken their talents abroad competing in high-level volleyball. The ladies also stressed the importance of the values they’ve learned being part of a team and outside the court. Hard work, discipline, time management and teamwork are just some of the traits that help an individual land jobs in the real world.
I believe our visit not only helped the Perlas Spikers to be a better team but it also helped improve Guam’s volleyball program, at the very least by promoting and sparking interest on the sport among the youth. Volleyball is not very popular in Guam mainly because of the little opportunity to play the sport because there are few existing clubs in the island. Usually there are one-day leagues, as in the one that coincided with our exhibition games, and open-gyms unlike the ones we have in our country—month long tournaments that happens at least twice in a year.
Now you may ask what’s in store for volleyball in Guam in the future? Mike Rabago, the head of the indoor volleyball program planned to have a club-driven league in July 2018. This should definitely jumpstart the volleyball program in the island, and hopefully in three to five years, a competitive Guam team will be ready to see action in the international arena.