The exclusion of stars Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado in the Philippine women’s volleyball national team has long earned the ire of sports fans.
More so after a somehow dismal performance of the national team, split in Choco Mucho and Rebisco, in the 2021 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship – finishing as the bottom two squads in the seven-team tourney.
But Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Tats Suzara on Tuesday was quick to downplay the performance of the women’s team, calling it “birth pains.”
“What’s significant is that our coaches picked players who have the potential, skills, and most importantly, the attitude and dedication to wearing our country’s colors,” said Suzara.
Guesting on Radyo 5’s Power and Play, Suzara was asked if his statement on Tuesday was the exact reason for the exclusion of Valdez and Morado among others that also didn’t make the national team.
However, the amiable executive said that the player selection is not in his hands, instead, it was decided by the federation’s national team commission and its coaches led by Brazilian tactician Jorge Edson Souza de Brito.
“The PNVF has a national team commission, we have also coaches now, we have a foreign coach by the name of Jorge Edson Souza de Brito,” he said.
“These coaches are credible coaches, our foreign coach now is the one leading the program. They study the video, they scout on the statistics of different players so we leave that decision for the selection of the players. The federation gets the recommendation from the coaches.”
But Suzara reiterated how important dedication and attitude for the players donning the Philippine colors internationally, and went on to say how popularity is not a factor in the selection process.
He also said that PNVF can also use the support of fans just like how it is when it comes to basketball.
“We’re not talking about their popularity or sino ang gusto ng fans, sino ang gusto ng media,” said Suzara.
“I think the crucial thing here as I mentioned earlier in the PBA, there are a thousand stars pero when they are selected in the national team, the SBP supports them, the fans support them, the media support them. It should be the same. There should be no difference between women’s volleyball and the PBA no? Everybody should support the national team program, you know?
“Sometimes, of course, hindi maiiwasan yung mentality ng iba, ng crab mentality, pero you have the discipline; the mental fortitude; harmony among the athletes, coaches, and officials, it’s a big factor for success and you get also the support from the private sector, the fans, the media, that makes the sport strive despite the pandemic,” he added.
Politics in the sports industry have been derailing the growth of athletes and sports in general for a long while, luckily though, Suzara said that in his federation, politics is absent.
Instead, Suzara mentioned how he is and will be changing the volleyball landscape in the country, even teasing “something very big” coming next year.
“There’s no politics. We don’t want to have politics in volleyball.
“In my first few days as president of the federation when I presented my 10-point strategy, my first slogan is I want to change the landscape of volleyball now in the Philippines,” Suzara assured.
“There will be some new events, you will know what event we will have next year, it will be something very big, something different that maybe the volleyball fans and the media and the sports community will not expect,” he teased.