PNVF taps Brazilian coach for men’s volleyball, beefs up team with 3 Fil-Ams

Brazilian coach Sergio Veloso, Fil-Am player Steven Rotter, PNVF Secretary General Don Caringal, PNVF Vice-President Arnel Hajan, Foton Manager Levy santos, PNVF President Ramon “Tats” Suzara, Board Member Tony Boy Liao, Mylene Paat, Jayvee Sumagaysay. PHOTO BY JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID

The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) welcomed three Filipino-American players and a new head coach for the men's volleyball team that will beef up the country's campaign in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games on Friday.

Opposite spiker Steven Rotter, middle blocker Cyrus De Guzman, and outside hitter Michael Vicente along with Brazilian coach Sergio Veloso were presented during the press launch at Golden Bay in Pasay City.

Among the three, Rotter already made a debut in the 2023 Spikers' Turf Open Conference for AMC-Cotabato team this week, finishing nine points.

The 6-foot-6 played two seasons at Long Beach City College and one season with Cal State Northridge, where he was also named to the All-Tournament Team of the California Community College Athletic Association in the same year.

“Coming off a silver finish in the last SEA Games, there's pressure to win that gold. We are just as excited as the others to win this crown for the Philippines,” said Rotter.

De Guzman played in US NCAA Division III for Hunter College from 2017 to 2020 then made a stint at the Volleyball League of America for New York Pride in 2022 and Northeast Force this year.

For De Guzman, playing for the national team ticked off one of his bucket lists.

“It's a dream playing the sport we love for our country,” said De Guzman.

The 22-year-old Vicente, meanwhile, played in Division I for Concordia University Irvine (2020-2021) before playing for Irvine Valley College in the Junior College division.

Vicente and De Guzman already started their training while trying to gel with the existing national players.

“We are getting to know the players and finding our chemistry in the tryouts,” said Vicente.

Newly-installed coach Veloso will bring in his 35 years of experience to bring back the gold in the biennial meet that is two months away.

“We need to fight for the gold medal. If you have a target, you have to go for it,” said Veloso.

“When I came here, I am proud to see that Filipino players have very good potential. They show good energy and I like to work hard with them,” he added.

Veloso aimed to work on more highly competitive play, in which he has expertise.

Meanwhile, Foton Motors turnover a van to PNVF through General Manager Levy Santos.

“We are very proud to be a partner with PNVF. Looking forward to having more activities in the future,” said Santos.

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