Team USA's Fil-Am manager relishes PH return at VNL

Team USA’s Fil-Am manager relishes PH return at VNL

/ 05:06 PM June 24, 2024

David Dantes Team USA VNL

USA men’s volleyball team manager David Dantes.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Team USA’s first time playing in Manila for the Volleyball Nations League was also a homecoming for the squad’s Filipino-American team manager David Dantes.

Dantes relished his return to the Philippines after 10 years.

“It’s really great to be back. I think the guys (players ) right now are having a wonderful experience. I think that’s been the best part. [For] most of our team, it’s their first time here and we love it. They love the fans, they love the passion, couldn’t be happier,” said Dantes, whose parents are from Quezon City. 


READ: VNL 2024: Experience makes USA’s Manila stint a ‘great success’

Like his players, Micah Christenson, Erik Shoji, Taylor Averill, and others, Dantes, who was born and raised in California and currently living in Georgia, was also in awe of the love Team USA received from the Filipino fans in their first VNL experience in Manila.

“It’s awesome. We want the sport to be popular everywhere. We want the fans to be as passionate as Filipino fans. So this means the world to us, and especially to our guys,” he said.

Dantes, who was also a coach and director for the University of Georgia, admitted he hasn’t watched Philippine volleyball games but after experiencing the massive Filipino crowd and his former player, Erica Staunton signing with Creamline as an import, he’s looking forward to catching PVL matches back home.

“I will now. Because one of my athletes in Georgia just started for Creamline last week. I will be watching it now because she’ll play,” said the Team USA’s technical support team and men’s sitting team Independent Contract Performance Analyst


“It’s really cool to see where I’m from, where my parents are from love it as passionately [as me]. Obviously, almost makes me want to come back and see the sport grow even more. It’s so cool to see the Philippines growing in the professional sport really quickly, which is great,” he added.

READ: VNL2024: USA star Taylor Averill wants to come back, explore PH

Dantes shares that grassroots development is key to taking Philippine volleyball to greater heights.


“I think it all starts at the grassroots level. Just provide as many opportunities as you can and let the kids, let the youth play as much as they can,” he said.

American libero Shoji shared the same sentiment as Dantes.

“I think it’s growing. Look at this crowd. So, we need more boys and girls playing volleyball and the more people the play, the better you’re gonna get. so, you know, we need more boys and girls playing volleyball in Manila, around the Philippines,” Shoji said. “That’s my hope for the country and little by little, step by step, they’ll get better.”

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USA, which finished with a 5-7 record, may have missed the VNL Final Eight after losing to Japan for the first time on Sunday night at Mall of Asia Arena, but the experience playing before an electric crowd still made the Americans’ stint a memorable one as they head home and gear up for the Paris Olympics.

TAGS: USA, Volleyball Nations League (VNL)

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