Assessing our women’s volleyball team
With its fourth-place finish in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games, eighth at the Jakarta Asian Games and ninth at the recent Asian Volleyball Championships (AVC), the Philippines women’s volleyball team has signified that it intends to be competitive anew in the Asian scene.
It’s clearly starting over as years of strife in the local volleyball scene prevented any regular participation in the past. The game’s resurgence and popularity has led to the conclusions that a competitive Philippine team is needed to sustain its rebirth.
There is a need nonetheless to remain reflective and objective in evaluating the team and its future. Assessing players and teams honestly does not mean raps against the players and their popularity as well as their commitment to the national cause. The general view must be more critical for the long-term so that the investments of the players, teams, leagues and fans that supported them can reap dividends for the country in the future.
For this two-column subject, we consulted game insiders, analysts who follow the Philippine Super Liga and the Premier Volleyball League to get their assessment and what can be done for the long-term.
Former University of Santo Tomas setter and current ESPN5 analyst Denise Tan suggests that the team “ride on the momentum and be given the support to level up their game together.” She points out that “the experience in the AVC and Asian Games won’t mean anything if it would take another year for them to compete again. There has to be continuity in their training for them to grow.”
Former UST men’s middle blocker Tex Suter also covers games for ESPN5 and recommends: “We need to follow what the world is doing. Run a quick play at a quick tempo and have the discipline and awareness to maintain it. If you want an analogy, think of it as sending a runner to a sprint event.”
“We also have poor defensive commitment in the back row. Our defenders get into position late, are not in defensive base, and don’t know how to adjust based on where the attack is and how well the block is formed. We need to field the best team and not the most popular,” adds Suter, head of the La Salle Green Hills volleyball program.
Based on the recommendations of the two analysts, a team framed by a faster tempo of play system can be installed even if the players change because of injuries or commitments. If there is a defined way of playing, then players are chosen to fit that system and not necessarily because of star value or skill. (To be continued)
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