After clearing tests, volleyball national pool off to Batangas training
The Philippine national volleyball pool members all tested negative for the coronavirus after reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction tests administered on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena, clearing their path to a bubble training that will be held in Lipa, Batangas.
“We are continuing the [programs of the] sport; this is our commitment as a federation,” said Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) president Ramon “Tats” Suzara. “The sport should not stop. For as long as we take necessary precautions and observe safety protocols, [we should go on].”
The PNVF will send three teams—two women’s and one men’s—to the Asian men’s and women’s club championships in Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand. The meet, slated Oct. 1 to 7, will be held in a bio-secure environment.
“We have the sponsorship money, there are no reasons not to go,” Suzara said. “After all this is a bubble tournament. If someone tests positive, then that’s it.”
The two women’s teams will be split from the 24-strong national women’s pool, now being coached by Olympic champion coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito, according to Suzara.
One team will carry the Rebisco brand and the other will don the colors of Choco Mucho.
“We have a respected coach from Brazil and 24 players in the pool a combination of young and new,” Suzara said. “In the future we won’t rely on the veterans any more.”
He said the PNVF will follow the Gilas Pilipinas (basketball) model which focuses on aggressive grassroots development.
“Like in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), they have countless superstars, but not all of them gets included in the national team,” said Suzara. “You don’t hear anybody complaining.”
The Thailand meet will feature seven teams in each division. Thailand, Kazakhstan and the Philippines will have two teams each in women’s. Iran will have one.
The winner of the meet will qualify to the FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) World Club championships next year. Meanwhile, Filipino-American standout Kalei Mau will join the national team in Thailand.
Mau confirmed the development on her Instagram Stories and that she’ll first go back home to Hawaii before traveling to Thailand to join the team.
“I’m gonna be home for the month and then I’m gonna be training and I’m going to Thailand to join the national team of the Philippines to play in the AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation),” said Mau in her posts. “Let’s go! Sambansa!”
—With a report from Bong Lozada
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