Veteran campaigners Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado were not part of the discussion when national coaches deliberated the composition of the national squad that will see action in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship from 1 to 7 October in Thailand.
National team head coach Odjie Mamon admitted that they didn’t consider Valdez and Morado to be part of the squad despite their long experience in serving the country in major international competitions like the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.
Mamon, the head coach of the University of Santo Tomas men’s team in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, said they were focused on tapping younger, taller players and Valdez and Morado were not seriously considered by the coaching staff headed by Brazilian consultant Jorge Edson Souza de Brito.
“We have considered other player in the fray, but Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado were not included in coach Jorge’s plans in the first place,” Mamon told Daily Tribune in a telephone conversation.
“He (Souza de Brito) wants younger and taller players. But you would ask ‘why is Rhea Dimaculangan in the squad even if she’s already 30?’ Those were considered before we even added players.”
True enough, the current batch of national players are younger, taller and more athletic.
Save for skipper Aby Maraño, Dindin Manabat, Jema Galanza and Dimaculangan, Team Rebisco will parade a very young squad composed of collegiate stars in Eya Laure, Faith Nisperos, Mhicaela Belen, Imee Hernandez, Ivy Lacsina, Kamille Cal, Jen Nierva and Bernadett Pepito.
Meanwhile, the other team – Team Choco Mucho – will be bannered by Iris Tolenada, Kalei Mau, Mylene Paat, Kianna Dy, Ria Meneses, Kat Tolentino, Tin Tiamzon, MJ Phillips, Majoy Baron, Dell Palomata, Deanna Wong and Dawn Macandili.
Souza de Brito will handle Team Rebisco while Mamon will call the shots for Team Choco Mucho in the biggest interclub volleyball tourney in Asia.
In a previous statement, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) announced that only those who showed up during the national tryouts in Clark would be given slots in the national squad.
Valdez and Morado were among those who were not around, but the federation later opened its door for other absentees like Manabat, Macandili, Galanza, Tolentino, Wong, Tiamzon, Dy, Phillips and Mau to enter.
Still, everything is not yet lost for Valdez and Morado.
“We’ll see,” Mamon said.
“We will find out what will happen after the competition. Of course there will be evaluation and planning.”
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