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Wide array of players flock National Team tryouts

One for Philippine Volleyball

“I’m happy with everyone who came,” said Women’s Volleyball National Team head coach Francis Vicente as players from both the collegiate and pro levels attended the first day of tryouts for his squad.

Among the attendees were PSL ambassador Mika Reyes; Army standouts Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Daquis; Foton’s Dindin Manabat and Jen Reyes; F2 Logistics’ Aby Maraño; Generika’s Bia General; Petron’s Rhea Dimaculangan; United VC’s Denden Lazaro; and Pocari Sweat’s Myla Pablo and Elaine Kasilag.

Among collegiate teams, UAAP powerhouse University of Santo Tomas — with Sisi Rondina, Ria Meneses, Carla Sandoval, and Chloe Cortez, among others — University of the East, and University of Perpetual Help sent players.

Whether or not Vicente already sees the final roster among these players, he chose to keep mum as of the moment, saying that he’s happy with the number of players who attended.

“In terms of attendance, siyempre meron tayong mga criteria na hinahanap. Mas magandang tahimik lang muna. Let the results do the judgement. So meron naman ako nakikitang mga dedikado na gustong maging National Team player.

“Kaya lang, kailangan natin i-explain that it’s not about anything else. Kailangan natin piliin nang mabuti ‘yung mga nararapat para sa team. Meron tayong mga naiisip na. Kaya lang, hindi ko pa pwedeng sabihin,” he told Tiebreaker Times.

Vicente clarifies that he is still waiting for several players who did not attend training, whose names he did not reveal. He also claims that there are Fil-Am players who showed interest in trying out.

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“Meron pa akong hinhintay. Once nandito ‘yun (Fil-Ams) meron din tayong matutunan sa kanila in terms of advanced training, and other they picked up abroad,” the veteran mentor added.

When asked about the collegiate players who were not able to tryout and expressed their concern regarding the training’s schedule, Vicente added that the doors to his team are still and will be kept open.

“I’m strict in some ways. Hindi naman ako closed-minded na tao. I have to be strict kasi I’m coaching the National Team. Kailangan talagang ayusin natin ‘yung dapat ayusin.

“Kung ang commitment natin puro sa school lang, paano ang Piliponas? Naiintindihan ko naman. I do understand them – it’s okay,” he lamented.

“There are many days pa – we have the whole month of February. I don’t want to close the book.

“Ako masaya na nandito ‘yung mga taong pwede kong i-eye. At least pwede kong sabihin na nandito ‘yung pwede natin sabihing maging dream team ng Pilipinas,” added the current UE Lady Warriors mentor.

Players went through an extensive circuit of physical exams that tested everything from their flexibility to vertical leap — different from the six-on-six scrimmages usually held at the first days of tryouts.

“We’re trying to determine kung sino ‘yung physically fit and kayang gawin ‘yung progama to every level,” the National Team mentor shared.

Tryouts will continue with consultations with physical therapists tomorrow, then ball drills on Tuesday.

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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