LVPI choices meet firestorm of public criticism

THE Philippine volleyball scene is alive and kicking. But it’s not necessarily for the good.

Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas officials recently named their pool of players for both the women’s and men’s national volleyball team to the coming Southeast Asia Games. Rather than being met with a wave of enthusiasm as people speculate as to who makes the final roster public criticism exploded chastising the officials for omissions.

The biggest question was how University Athletic Association of the Philippines best setter Jia Morado and three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo were not included in the training pool. 

This did not sit well with the public as a firestorm of criticism exploded on social media questioning their exclusion. The reason put forward was that they did not attend tryouts. But how could they attend tryouts if they were not invited?

The most recent development is that LVP formally admitted that they did indeed fail to invite Morado and Espejo. LVP will now arrange special tryouts for the pair as well as two other Ateneo De Manila University volleyball stars in Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino.

It may be unfair to cry favoritism this early. But men’s volleyball team coach Sammy Acaylar will likely take at least one player from among his University of Perpetual Help varsity players. Women’s coach Francis Vicente on the other hand is perceived to be making room for his setter from the University of the East Roselle Baliton in the women’s lineup. 

That’s their prerogative actually. They’re the national team coaches. It’s their responsibility to name the players they will take to the competition.

National team coaches getting their favorite players is not really a new thing in volleyball, or in other sports for that matter.

Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas (LVP) president Joey Romasanta (right) speaks. Others with him are from left: men’s team head coach Sammy Acaylar, women’s team head coach Francis Vicente and LVP vice president Peter Cayco. The officials announced the composition of the Philippines volleyball teams during the PSA Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City last Tuesday, March 14. Ey Acasio

Just a few years ago there was a howl of protest when Aiza Maizo, then the best player at her position, was not included in the national women’s volleyball team. The protest eventually died out.

Consider though that the last medal the Philippines took home in women’s volleyball was the bronze in the 2005 SEA Games edition in Manila. The country’s last gold medal haul in women’s volleyball happened in 1993 in Singapore with Thailand dominating the sport in the last 10 editions.

From recent experience that practice of failing to invite the best players to participate in the selection process for national teams has really been the bane of Philippine volleyball. LVP promised that this practice is indeed over and that the organization will take only the country’s best players to represent the Philippines in international competitions.

Additionally, social media has changed the landscape and sports officials just can’t make decisions without answering to the public. Whether that’s necessarily good or not remains to be seen. 

But now more than ever, sports officials had better be able to defend their decisions before the bar of public opinion.   

Topics: Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas , Southeast Asia Games
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