An athlete’s ultimate dream is to wear the national uniform and play for flag and country.
So that when the tryouts for the selection of the national team of the men and women’s volleyball teams was announced, the few and the proud responded and gave their 100 percent commitment-- for love of country.
“Pag nag bubuo ako ng isang team, sa lahat ng bagay na gagawin mo kailangan may love,”said national women’s team coach Francis Vicente.
“Pag meron kang ganon lahat ng bagay magagawa mo, kahit ano gawin mo, magagawa mo yan, makakamit mo, kasi mahal mo yung ginagawa mo. Basta’t mahal mo yung gagawin mo aangat at aangat ka.”
Fifteen women, who were dubbed the 15 Patriots, showed up for the Clash of Heroes showdown of national pool members on Sunday night at the San Juan Arena, all hoping to make the final cut in the selection team bound for the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia in August.
“They just showed their love and commitment to play for the country,” added Vicente, who said their presence in the event gives weight to their chances of making it to the national team that is tasked to regain some pride after being absent for five editions of the biennial meet.
One of the ardent hopefuls in the national team is Mika Reyes, who has been trying it out and practicing daily with other members of the national pool.
“Since day nandiyan na yan si Mika (Reyes). Marami silang ganyan sa team na talagang committed. Yang skills andiyan na yan, pero mas importante sa atin ang commitment to sacrifice for the country.”
“Minsan lang naman po maging part ng team. Motivated po ako ng aking friends and family to pursue this and maging proud to represent our country,” said Reyes.
Reyes suited up with Ces Molina, Shaya Adorado, Lourdes Clemente, CJ Rosario, Bie General and Roselle Baliton for the Pilipinas Blue team that climbed from two-sets down to beat the Pilipinas Red Team composed of Jaja Santiago, Aiza Pontillas, Maika Ortiz, Gen Casugod, Ria Meneses, Rhea Dimaculangan, Denden Lazaro and Kathleen Arado.
Some supposed marquee names in Philippine women’s volleyball scene were not around in the game that could have gauge how well they would jell with other members of the national squad.
Some players said their hectic schedule and other commitments prevented them from joining the exhibition game that was part of the selection process for the national team. Others were prevented by their commercial teams from joining for various reasons.
They can still make up for their absence though.
Vicente still considers no-show players to “knock on the door”, make the first move, and be committed if they wish to land in the national team.
“Yung pintuan, di naman siya naka-padlock e kakatok ka lang,” said Vicente “I want to be fair to everybody.”
Coach Francis said the names of the 18-women team will be revealed on Friday before the Philippine Superliga All-Stars heads to Kazakhstan for AVC Women’s Club Championship this May. With reports from Martina Cabantog