Another massive blow came crashing down on the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball team after Kalei Mau was ruled ineligible to participate in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) president Joey Romasanta revealed that the Filipino-American athlete had failed to meet the required minimum two-year residency.
As it turns out, the 6-foot-2 outside hitter — who played collegiate volleyball for the University of Arizona in the US NCAA Division 1 — remains affiliated under the United States Volleyball Association (USVA). She took her talents to the Philippines just a year ago when she became a part of Cocolife in the Philippine Superliga.
According to the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the Asian Volleyball Confederation, a player who wishes to represent her country in international competition such as the SEA Games, Asian Games, and the Olympics must be under her mother federation for at least two years.
“Malaking pagsubok na naman sa amin kasi adjustment na naman dun sa team,” said head coach Shaq Delos Santos.
Delos Santos then continued, “Simula ng mag-start kami ng [training] camp, nandiyan siya, tapos nagkaroon na naman ng conflict. Siguro best thing na magagawa ng buong team, coaches, players, ng management, ng LVPI… Kami, kailangan din naming ma-accept na. [Kailangan] Na matanggap namin sa sarili namin na kakayanin namin kahit na maraming dumadating na problema o conflict, kasi ‘yun na rin naman ang goal natin dito — kung paano buuin ang team.”
Given the shocking development, Delos Santos pulled out Aiza Maizo-Pontillas from the reserve list. He is also looking at the possibility of utilizing Mylene Paat as an opposite and open spiker.
“Si Aiza na ang ilalagay namin. Si Mylene kasi inaano namin, pero kasi sa Pilipinas nagagawa niyang maging outside hitter. Pero kailangan mas maaral pa niya o maibigay namin ‘yung mga role niya as an outside hitter, pero kasi siyempre iba pa rin ang galaw dun,” he said.
“Pero I think konting adjustment na lang so ibibigay namin ‘yung kailangan niyang i-improve at i-develop.”
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