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RP Volleyball National Team Practice Day One
by rick olivares
The first day of practice for the Philippine Women’s Under-23 Volleyball National Team had its share of surprises.
The women’s team was missing quite a few expected faces as only four players attended the conditioning session presided over by Anusorn Bundit in the absence of Roger Gorayeb who is still in Thailand with the Women’s beach volleyball teams that finished fifth in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Continental Cup. Gorayeb flies back to Manila on Wednesday evening.
The only players present were Ateneo Lady Eagles Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado. Middle blocker Bea De Leon was still in the United States for a short vacation. Other attendees included University of Santo Tomas’ EJ Laure and Marivic Meneses.
On the other hand, the men’s team had a few more attendees. Those who showed up for head coach Oliver Almadro’s first practice session included members from the recent UAAP men’s champion Ateneo – Marck Espejo, Ysay Marasigan, and Rex Intal as well as UE’s Edward Camposano who was recently named the UAAP’s Rookie of the Year, San Beda’s Angelo Torres, and UST’s Romnick Rico. Others who committed but were unable to make it due to classes included La Salle’s Brendon Santos and FEU’s Greg Dolor who Tamaraws coach Kid Santos confirmed his participation in the next practice.
Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas President Joey Romasanta said that he doesn’t expect a big turnout until Thursday when Gorayeb arrives and when other players return from their quick vacation.
In an interview with UST’s contingent both Laure and Meneses expressed excitement about playing for the national team. “Syempre honor to para sa amin,” gushed Laure who was co-Rookie of the Year in the recent UAAP tournament along with UE’s Kathleen Faith Arado. “And chance to for us to be teammates with others like Alyssa Valdez. So meron excitement factor.”
Meneses admitted to also being both nervous and looking forward to train under Bundit who has led Ateneo to back-to-back titles in the UAAP. “We heard mahirap siya magpa-practice pero kung makakatulong naman sa amin okey din. Nakita naman ng lahat yung epekto sa Ateneo at sa mga championship nila.”
Romasanta confirmed that many players invited to the national team remain confused with the ongoing row between the LVPI and the Philippine Volleyball Federation that maintains it is the legitimate governing body of the sport. “We hope to get a better turnout within the next few days,” underscored LVP’s top man. “If we continue to have problems, we will get the core of the recent UAAP champion teams and augment them with a few choice players. Ganyan talaga.”
Romasanta also informed both teams before their respective practices today that there is a possibility that these teams will likewise also represent the country in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Singapore from June 5-16.