Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado will not play for the national team pool at the upcoming Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championships, which are set to take place in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand in October.
For the women’s volleyball squads, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation sent two groups: Team Rebisco (with head coach Souza de Brito) and Team Choco Mucho (with head coach Odjie Mamon). Many were left wondering why the two national team mainstays—who represented the country at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games—were excluded from the pool.
According to Brazilian consultant Souza de Brito, they specifically looked for new faces during the selection process. “I think that we need some fresh blood, younger and taller players,” he said in an interview at the recently-concluded Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. “As of this time, I think you have here all the best players.”
De Brito described the move as the “best decision” they have made for the local sports team. “It’s good that everyone has an access to social media but it’s not where I made my decision,” he explained. “I respect them but we’re always trying our best for the national team. I think we’ve taken the best decision for now.”
Even Mamon backed the decision, saying that he also “recommended and urged them to let the young players stay in one team, who will be the future core of the team, and beef them up with some veteran players.”
For his part, Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Ramon “Tats” Suzara asked for everyone’s support for the national team, “whoever they are.”
“I made an example in one of my interviews a few days ago that in the PBA, when some stars were not chosen for the national team, they would still be there to support,” he said. “I need your support. This is not an overnight success. It takes years to have a good national team.”
Members of Team Rebisco include Aby Maraño (team captain), Eya Laure, Jema Galanza, Faith Nisperos, Mhicaela Belen, Imee Hernandez, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Ivy Lacsina, Rhea Dimaculangan, Kamille Cal, Bernadette Pepito, and Jennifer Nierva.
Team Choco Mucho, meanwhile, is composed of Iris Tolenada (team captain), Kianna Dy, Kalei Mau, Mylene Paat, Tin Tiamzon, Kat Tolentino, MJ Phillips, Ria Meneses, Majoy Baron, Dell Palomata, Deanna Wong, and Dawn Macandili.
Photographs from Philstar.com