Men’s volleyball team eyeing medal in SEA Games even sans big names
Despite missing a few big names, Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) officials believe that the men’s national volleyball team will have a decent showing once the volleyball tournament begins on June 10.
LVPI secretary general Ricky Palou said that the federation is hopeful about team’s fortunes despite the odds dealt with the composition of the men’s squad.
“We think we still have a chance,” he said.
UAAP MVP Marck Espejo banner the men’s team, which also features Rex Intal, Peter Torres, Ish Polvorosa, Timmy Sto. Tomas, AJ Pareja, Joshua Villanueva, Ysrael Marasigan, Edward Camposano, Sandy Montero, John Vic De Guzman, and Kheeno Franco.
Coach Oliver Almadro and Nes Pamillar are designated to handle the men’s squad, which is set to leave for Singapore on June 7.
Palou said that big names like Ranran Abdilla, Mark Alfafara, Vince Mangulabnan, Reyson Fuentes, and Howard Mojica all declined from joining the national team due to prior commitments, but that doesn’t mean that the 12-man squad they formed won’t try to compete.
“We’re not discounting the fact that these players can still represent our country in the SEA Games. We’re still trying to get a medal,” he said. “We could’ve been stronger, but we’re still trying to get a bronze medal.”
The officials said that a bronze medal is already an achievement for the country. However, it would be a surprise if the team goes as far as the crossover playoffs.
“It’s tougher when it comes to the men’s division. The other countries’ level are already on a much higher level. So it would really be a surprise if we get a medal,” said LVPI official Tony Boy Liao.
The Philippines is bracketed in Group A with Malaysia (June 10), Myanmar (June 11), and defending two-time gold medalist Thailand (June 14).
Still, Liao, also the team manager of the Ateneo Lady Eagles, already sees the country sending a team to the biennial meet as an achievement, ending a 10-year hiatus from the volleyball competitions.
“Sending a Philippine team in the SEA Games volleyball tourney is a triumph of the spirit,” he said. CC