Manage our volleyball expectations | Inquirer Sports
One Game At A Time

Manage our volleyball expectations

/ 03:56 AM March 27, 2015

Sure, women’s volleyball is at an all-time high in popularity.

The UAAP finals attracted thousands to the Mall of Asia Arena and countless others who watched on television and tweeted along with credible experts and armchair analysts.

Regardless of team, the star players are immensely popular, and the names of Alyssa Valdez, Ara Galang, Mika Reyes, Ella de Leon and veterans like Rachel Anne Dacquis, Gretchen Ho, and Aby Maraño ring a loud bell among the toss-and-spike faithful.

It’s a popularity that we should use to whip up support for the national teams for the Under-23 Asian tournament which the Philippines will host this May and the Singapore Southeast Asian Games in June.

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But we should also be rightfully conservative in predicting how far we will go in these tournaments. We’ve just recently tried to be organized in reigniting our volleyball national teams while the rest of the region is already miles ahead in preparation and tournament readiness.

Asia should still be dominated by the powers like China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand. The rest of the field has to play at the high level these teams perform to be able to create ripples in the tournament. It’s not enough to steal sets which is the common cop-out when one plays a much-stronger team.

To be able to go anywhere in the tournament, the Philippines and the rest of the field will have to hustle and really catch the elite teams off form.

In the SEA Games, Thailand and Indonesia should still be the teams to beat. If all things go well, the Philippines could go for a bronze; difficult, but doable and will need tons of breaks and great games from all the players.

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But more than winning medals, the mindset should be rebuilding. Just as volleyball climbed out of the empty gyms and tournaments nobody but friends and family would watch, the rebirth of the Philippine teams should be nurtured and allowed to go through all the painstaking difficulties.

Yes, the game is popular but it does not mean that our players’ skills and overall team game are already at par with the rest of the field. Over the years, we’ve been playing too many political volleyball games while the rest of the region was moving forward.

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But the Philippine team, by whatever name it finally goes with (we really don’t have to put a catchy name on every national team), should be cheered and supported. We are just beginning to turn things around, so let’s be fair in our tweets, posts and comments while we fix our volleyball house. We’ll get there yet, slugging it out with the best of Asia and even the world.

Follow me on Twitter @sportssev

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TAGS: UAAP Finals, women's volleyball

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