NU queens Belen, Solomon beg off from PH volleyball squad

NU queens Belen, Solomon beg off from PH volleyball squad

Alyssa Solomon and Bella Belen after winning the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball championship.

Alyssa Solomon and Bella Belen after winning the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball championship. –UAAP Media

Eya Laure is excited over the chance to represent the country and improve herself.

But whatever hopes fans were nursing to watch the brightest young stars in women’s volleyball team up with the rebranded Philippine squad took a hit on Friday after it was revealed that National University (NU) stars Bella Belen and Alyssa Solomon begged off from joining.

University of the East’s Casiey Dongallo, meanwhile, has been ruled out due to a right wrist fracture.

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“They’re tired [after a grueling UAAP Finals stint] and school. [They also have] minor injuries. Reasonable,” national coach Jorge Souza De Brito told the Inquirer.

READ: Bella Belen, Alyssa Solomon, Casiey Dongallo out of AVC Cup team

Hopes were high that the best young stars in the country today would hook up with top veterans at Alas Pilipinas, the women’s national volleyball team that will compete in the upcoming Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup from May 22 to 29 at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Belen, the two-time UAAP MVP, and Solomon, the Finals MVP, spearheaded the Lady Bulldogs’ sweep of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses in the women’s finale.

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They had already expressed uncertainty about joining the national team.

The Brazilian coach, meanwhile, revealed that Dongallo recently suffered a right-hand injury.

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READ; UAAP: Bella Belen, Alyssa Solomon take their time to enjoy NU title

Among the young players that will spearhead the team are UAAP stars Angel Canino, Thea Gagate and Julia Coronel of La Salle, and rising young sensations from the PVL like Vanie Gandler and Laure.

“I am always excited and honored to represent the country,” Laure said to a few reporters in Filipino. “We get to play against different countries carrying the Philippines.”

“It feels good to be a part of it [national team] and I am looking forward to the new experience that I could possibly get,” the former UST top gun added.

They will be joined by the likes of Jia de Guzman and Sisi Rondina, the latter a teammate of Laure at Santo Tomas.

“When you’re playing with ate Sisi on your side, you don’t feel as too tired because you can rely on her,” Laure said. “One of the things that I look up to her is her mindset, how she plays and her work ethic.”

“Ate Sisi has gained a lot of new learnings [throughout the years] whether in beach volley or international,” the Chery Tiggo Crossovers ace said.

Gateway to VNL

Alas Pilipinas is pitted against Australia, India, Iran and Chinese-Taipei in Pool A, and if all goes well, the country can qualify for the 2024 FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) Women’s Challenger Cup which is a gateway to the Volleyball Nations League in 2025.

Other members of the national pool include Akari’s Fifi Sharma and Faith Nisperos, Cignal’s Dawn Macandili-Catindig, and Dell Palomata from PLDT.

Laure’s libero from Chery Tiggo Jennifer Nierva and Rondina’s Choco Mucho teammate Cherry Nunag are also included in the pool.

“Hopefully, we end up with a good result,” Laure said.

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Alas Pilipinas opens its Pool A campaign against Australia on Thursday next week, and will face India on Friday and Iran on Saturday in its bid to surpass its seventh-place finish last year and improve the country’s FIVB World rankings.

TAGS: Alyssa Solomon, Bella Belen, UAAP

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