Doubts and eyebrows raised when PNVF President Tats Suzara said on Wednesday that they are assuring the 16 players who attended the women’s volleyball national team tryout of a spot in the 31st Southeast Asian Games “in principle.”
More so that nine of the spikers are still in college, including NU’s Mhicaela Belen, Alyssa Solomon, Ivy Lacsina, Jennifer Nierva, and Kamille Cal; UST’s Eya Laure, Imee Hernandez and Bernadett Pepito; and Ateneo’s Faith Nisperos.
But for the youthful Belen and Solomon, age is just a number.
“Hindi naman po porke’t bata kami, hindi namin kayang makipagsabayan,” the 18-year-old Belen told Tiebreaker Times.
Of course, Belen and Solomon have read the online comments that have been made on this team.
Instead of dwelling on it, though, the duo will use it as extra motivation to do well on the national team.
“Magte-train po kami nang maigi, at gagawin na lang din sigurong motivation to work harder ‘yung mag nagda-doubt sa amin,” said 19-year-old Solomon, a 6-foot opposite hitter from Santa Rosa, Laguna.
“We can’t promise them po that we will bring home the gold, but we will try our best po. And sana po sa mga doubters, [they] gives us a chance po na maipakita kung ano po ang kaya namin gawin,” echoed Belen, a 5-foot-7 outside spiker out of Quezon City.
The two boast pretty jampacked credentials even at a young age.
They were both part of the National University-Nazareth School squad that won five of the last six championships in the UAAP High School Girls’ division.
The school also represented the Philippines in the 2017 and 2019 ASEAN School Games. There, they bagged bronze and silver, respectively.
Individually, Belen is a two-time juniors season MVP and a one-time 1st best outside hitter. Meanwhile, Solomon is a two-time Palarong Pambansa MVP.
Despite those achievements, the young spikers know they still have a lot to learn. But they are willing to go through the grind to get better.
“‘Yung attitude po nila like paano nila hinahandle ‘yung pressure inside the court, bilang marami na rin po silang experience sa paglalaro sa international and pro leagues,” Solomon on what she intends to learn from her seniors at the national team.
“Dahil po mas may experience po sila sa amin pagdating sa international stage at mga pro na po sila, I will listen to them kung ano man ang maipapayo nila sa amin,” said Belen, a first year Psychology student.