Alyssa Valdez surprised by PH team captaincy
MANILA, Philippines—Being tapped as the captain of the Philippine women’s volleyball team inspires Alyssa Valdez to work harder in her recovery from a right knee injury as she hopes to lead by example to her teammates in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia set from May 5 to 17.
Valdez, the longest-tenured national team member with five SEA Games appearances, was surprised when the Philippine National Volleyball Federation announced that she will be the squad’s skipper for the first time.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect it. I was overwhelmed by it I’m actually recovering from my injury and I think that’s one of my motivations also to be 100% when it comes to the SEA Games because of that responsibility as well,” said the Creamline star, who missed the whole Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference due to the injury she sustained last December.
“You don’t wanna go there if you are not 100% so that’s my motivation. And honestly, I’m happy to be not just to be the captain, but to be part of the national team,” she added.
PH team captain Alyssa Valdez: I'm actually recovering from my injury and I think that's one of my motivations also to be a 100% pagdating sa SEA Games because of that responsibility as well. You don't wanna go there, syempre, na hindi ka 100%. pic.twitter.com/oNl3NkzFlh
— Lance Agcaoili (@LanceAgcaoilINQ) April 2, 2023
The three-time PVL MVP is honored to be part of the national team for the fifth consecutive SEA Games, although a medal has been elusive since the country returned to the regional volleyball competition last 2015 Singapore Games when she was a flag bearer.
This time, she will be with the core of the Cool Smashers led by decorated setter Jia De Guzman, three-time MVP Tots Carlos, Ced Domingo, Michele Gumabao, and libero Kyla Atienza.
“It’s always an honor to represent our country. I remember the first time we got to participate also in the SEA Games it was in Singapore in 2015. And now it’s already my fifth time,” said Valdez. “It’s so much special also now because I’m with the Creamline Cool Smashers, from the Rebisco family.”
“Whenever I join the national team, the feeling is different, and [there’s] excitement to play for the flag. Hopefully, this will be a memorable one,” she added.
As the team captain, Valdez hopes to share her experience from the past four SEA Games including the 2018 Asian Games with the team also composed of holdovers Mylene Paat, Kath Arado, Kat Tolentino, and Dell Palomata as well as first-timers Gel Cayuna, Glaudine Troncoso, and Cherry Nunag.
“As one of the veterans to be part of this team, hopefully, I can contribute my familiarity when it comes to the SEA Games. I hope to guide them also, how to handle everything on and off the court,” she said.
Valdez added that leading another new composition of the national team won’t be hard because her teammates are “leaders in their own rights” and achievers in the PVL.
“All of them have proven themselves in volleyball so I don’t think I still have to do something to lead them. But we’re just really hoping to enjoy the SEA Games and give our all for the national team. We’re just gonna be there representing and really fighting for the country,” she said.
The Ateneo standout also relishes her second time playing under Brazilian coach Jorge Souza de Brito, who will work with Creamline’s three-time champion coach Sherwin Meneses as his assistant.
“Coach Jorge has been very vocal on what he wants and what the team needs and the character he wants to see on and off the court. I hope it will be good communication, better communication, and effective communication so I could relay also that to the whole team,” said Valdez.
Valdez and the national team will train in Japan in April as they try to reach the podium for the first time since the bronze finish in 2005 coming off back-to-back fourth-place campaigns in the past two editions.
Alyssa Valdez to captain national team in SEA Games
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