MANILA – The 16 female spikers who attended the national team tryouts in Subic last month have been given spots in the national team pool for this year.
Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Tats Suzara announced on Wednesday that Premier Volleyball League stars Mylene Paat, Eya Laure, Aby Marano, Majoy Baron, Jaja Santiago, Dell Palomata, Ria Meneses, and current free agent Iris Tolenada, and college volleyball standouts Kamille Cal, Faith Nisperos, Ivy Lacsina, Mhicaela Belen, Alyssa Solomon, Imee Hernandez, Jennifer Nierva, and Bernadette Pepito will make up the majority of the 20 available spots for the women’s training pool ahead of two major volleyball events later this 2021 including the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi from Nov. 21-Dec. 2.
Paat, Laure, Marano, and Baron were part of the Philippine team that placed fourth in the SEA Games last 2019 in Pasig.
The Philippines, as announced by Suzara in an earlier online press conference, will be hosting the Asian Seniors Women’s Volleyball Championship from Aug. 27-Sept. 4.
The volleybelles quickly answered the call among the 40 invited players for the national team tryouts last April 28.
In spite of it, the national team pool remains available for 20 people.
National team coach Odjie Mamon said he might need another setter, outside hitter, opposite hitter, and libero to complete the pool.
He emphasized that a libero from the professional ranks is needed right now as Nierva and Pepito are still in college.
Meanwhile, the core of the men’s team that won a silver in the SEA Games two years ago is back in the national team pool.
Jessie Lopez, Kim Dayadante, Ish Polvorosa, Josh Retamar, Mark Alfafara, Marck Espejo, Bryan Bagunas, Jao Umandal, John Vic de Guzman, Rex Intal, Kim Malabunga, Francis Saura, Jack Kalingking, and Ricky Marcos have been selected to the men’s pool.
Only Bagunas did not attend the April 29 tryouts but Coach Dante Alinsunurin has since been mentioning that Bagunas is a shoo-in.
Joining the returning Nationals are newcomers Nico Almendras, Ysay Marasigan, Joeven dela Vega, JP Bugaoan, Lloyd Josafat, and Manuel Sumanguid.
The all-pro pool was chosen from out of 31 spikers who joined the tryouts.
On the other hand, the entire beach volleyball squads from 2019 are back in the national team pool.
Jude Garcia, Jaron Requinton, James Buytrago, and Ranran Abdilla have been chosen to join the men’s pool.
Joining them are Creamline teammates Anthony Arbasto, Philip Bagalay, and AJ Pareja, Jade Becaldo, Calvin Sarte, and James Pecana.
Meanwhile, Sisi Rondina, Bernadeth Pons, Dzi Gervacio, and Dij Rodriguez will headline the women’s pool.
Completing the women’s training squad are the Abanse Negrense trio of Jennifer Cosas, Alexa Polidario, and Erjane Magdato and the University of Santo Tomas troika of Babylove Barbon, Gen Eslapor, and Mer Jauculan.
“In selecting the members of the pool, we put into strong consideration the athletes’ skills and potentials to improve, and as importantly, their dedication to flag and country, and their visibly innate qualities,” Suzara said. “The positions and how the teams would be like in terms of strength and ability to respond while in distress were also considered in the selection process.”
“These men and women, may I say, are to become lethal in the next five months or so,” added Tonyboy Liao, the national team commission chairman.
By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno (PNA)