Despite setbacks, De Brito gets passing mark
Five months down the road, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB)-loaned national coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito got a flying mark from Philippine volleyball’s top official despite a woeful start to his program because of the pandemic and a rough Asian Club Championships performance.
The international federation, despite all of that, greenlighted a 12-month program that would pay for De Brito’s tenure as Philippine team consultant, which will end in June, well after the 2022 Hanoi Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The country has not won a medal in the biennial meet since it returned to competition in 2015, and everybody’s looking at De Brito—and his motley crew of young players and handful of stars—to perform.
“We at the FIVB are always seeking to grow our sport and the most effective way to achieve this is by reinvesting the money that comes from the sport back into volleyball,” said FIVB president Ary Graça in a statement.
“The PNVF (Philippine National Volleyball Federation) has laid out a road map for the development of the sport in the Philippines. I am excited to see the progress that is made over the next seven months with the FIVB coaching,” added Graça.
Despite the pandemic limitations, the Philippines fielded two teams in the Asian Women’s Clubs in Thailand last August, but ended up sixth and seventh.
Still, volleyball officials are confident they have fine-tuned the national team enough to veer away from the superstar-driven approach which, even though it thrilled the fans, was not successful in the past.
Now PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said they are even expanding talent search down to the 16-under. In fact, one of them has already stood out: The 16-year-old, 5-foot-8 heavy scorer Casiey Dongallo of California School.
Dongallo was one of the best scorers during the Champions League in Lipa City, Batangas, a performance that prompted De Brito to say: “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
De Brito said he’s getting the hang of the Filipino volleyball culture, which he said is key in molding it into an international heavyweight that it used to be. “But there’s a lot to improve on,” he said.
“I envision a bright future for the Philippine women’s volleyball team. It will take time, but we have now diligently started laying the foundations,” said De Brito. “The goal is to be at par with the best in Asia.”
That used to be the case, with the Philippines a past SEA Games giant, winning six gold medals from 1977 to 1993. It also once placed fifth in Asian Championship (1983) and wound up 18th in the World Championships in 1974.
“We can already see the results of his (De Brito) work and are looking to expand this development to our men’s team in the future,” said Suzara.