Missed opportunity for women’s national volleyball team
Since the announcement that the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will be held in the Philippines this year, Filipino volleyball fans have been very excited to watch the games.
The women power spikers in the national volleyball team to watch out for are Alyssa Valdez, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Kalei Mau.
Both Valdez and Maizo-Pontillas were standouts in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines during their collegiate careers, and in their stints with different professional volleyball leagues.
A good reinforcement is Filipino-American Kalei Mau, who emerged as the most valuable player and best scorer in the 2019 Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference. Mau also helped the national team secure third place in the first leg of the Asean Grand Prix in September.
But on Nov. 8, Mau was cut by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) from the roster of the national team. LVPI said Mau failed to meet the two-year minimum residency requirement to play for the national team in an international competition. Mau began to play in PSL late last year. She would miss the opportunity to play for our national team in the SEA Games this year.
But why release a lineup for the national team without first screening the eligibility of all the players? And why the decision just now, when Mau has already trained with the whole team and when the SEA Games is just around the corner? How come Mau was able to be part of the national team in an international competition like the Asean Grand Prix?
She would surely be a big loss to our national team’s bid for a podium finish in the SEA Games. The last time the team won a medal (bronze) in the SEA Games was in 2005. Would we miss the opportunity to have another podium finish this year? I hope not. I do wish Mau could finally join our national team in the next SEA Games.
Despite this heartbreaking news, I hope this would not affect the preparation and performance of the national team in the SEA Games. There’s still the home court advantage, anyway.
Let us support the women’s national volleyball team and the rest of our teams in the 30th SEA Games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. As the Games’ official slogan goes, “We win as one!”
JOHN PATRICK F. SOLANO
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