Gorayeb has right to forbid players from attending tryouts

COACH Roger Gorayeb, mentor of the ladies volleyball teams of San Sebastian College and National University, is being raked over the coals in social media over his decision not to allow his players to join the tryouts for the Philippine National Team to the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Comments range from accusations of selfishness, that he’s only thinking of personal interest and not the national interest; to malice that he is forbidding his players from joining the tryouts because he was not named coach of the national team.

I disagree completely with these comments. Gorayeb is already a many time national team mentor and is just concerned that attending practices with the SSC and NU teams and then going to equally grueling tryouts increase the chance of players getting injured. He would rather his players just rest or attend school activities.

The Manila leg of the tryouts will be held January 28, 29 and 31 at the Arellano University gym in Taft. The Visayas and Mindanao leg will be held sometime February.

SSC open spiker Grethcel Soltones and NU middle blocker Jaja Santiago, who were both members of the last edition of the biennial meet and practically shoo-ins to the next national team, will both miss the tryouts.

Right now Gorayeb is focused on getting his teams ready for collegiate wars. 

SSC advanced to the step-ladder finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s volleyball tournament after posting a nine-game sweep of the elimination round. 

Make no mistake. The charge to the finals wasn’t easy. SSC needed to scramble past College of St. Benilde in four sets, 22-25,  25-22, 25-13, 25-14 in Game 9 to post the sweep. And the Lady Stags only managed to pull out that come-from-behind win after Soltones virtually carried her team to victory.

Gorayeb just cannot afford to let Soltones’ focus wane or worse get injured in the tryouts. Last year’s debacle, where SSC similarly advanced to the step-ladder finals only to lose two consecutive matches and the title to CSB, is too real to be ignored.

NU and Santiago are similarly situated. The Lady Bulldogs are deep in training for the opening of the UAAP wars where the squad is among the top contenders after narrowly bowing out in the Final Four last year.

Losing Santiago to an injury during the tryouts is only too real. Santiago was in fact sideline just a few months ago. After elder sister Dindin Santiago-Manabat graduated the NU offense is anchored on the younger Santiago and losing her effectively renders NU an also-run in the competitive UAAP volleyball competition.

With these considerations Coach Gorayeb is certainly within his rights to forbid his players from attending the tryouts. 

The only thing that I disagree with is coach Gorayeb allowing himself to be quoted that he won’t allow his players to try out. It just left him open to harsh criticisms on social media.

A better way would have been to discuss the matter in private with his players who I’m sure would have come to the same decision to forgo the tryouts and instead meet their commitment to their schools first.

But that’s just coach Roger for you. He’s an outspoken, principled man who will speak out his mind on things that he believes in.

This sudden call for the tryouts just emphasizes the ad hoc mentality of the decision makers at LVPI as they called for national team tryouts without consulting their constituents like the UAAP and the NCAA.

This is in sharp contrast to the way the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas consulted with basketball stakeholders like the Philippine Basketball Association months in advance before forming national teams for international competitions.

But even without Soltones and Santiago I don’t see any real problems in forming a women’s national team. Right now there are actually enough talent in the Philippine Super Liga and the Philippine Volleyball League (formerly Shakey’s V-League) to form a competitive team for the coming SEA Games. 

Topics: Coach Roger Gorayeb , San Sebastian College , National University , Philippine National Team , 29th Southeast Asian Games
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