United VC set to debut in Super Liga Invitationals

Ayssa Rola
Michele Gumabao and Denden Lazaro are two of the players expected to wear the team's uniform

GET THAT BALL. Former Ateneo libero Denden Lazaro will display her skills for United VC in the PSL. File photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – A new volleyball club aiming to unite the sport’s rivalries in the country is currently in the works.

Michele Gumabao and Denden Lazaro, who were once part of perennial rival teams in the UAAP, headline the United Volleyball Club (United VC) which will finally see action at the PSL Invitational Conference this February.

Team manager Joshua Ylaya recalls how his tight group of friends, composed of Ateneo and La Salle alumni, dreamed of putting up a team that would provide a sustainable program for volleyball athletes. Last December, the simple vision gradually transformed into reality.

“We’ve always wanted to do something for the sport,” Ylaya told Rappler. “It just so happened that last December, a lot of things happened in both leagues. We saw it as an opportunity that it might be the perfect time for us to put it to action.”

Sustainable volleyball program

Ylaya, who used to play for La Salle and the national team, partnered up with a fellow Green Archer as well as two Atenean buddies in an effort to give back to the sport they grew up with.

Apart from coming up with an efficient program, the owners wanted to put up a club that would go beyond collegiate rivalries in hopes of strengthening the campaign of a united volleyball nation.

United VC likewise targets to give Filipino athletes a feel of what it’s like to play for an international type of club team, and hopefully attain the ultimate goal of representing the country overseas.

“We wanted to apply just how a club really is run and is operated just like how they do abroad,” said Ylaya. “Dito kasi, we’re so used to brands running the club.”

(Here in the Philippines, we’re so used to to brands running the club.)

“We want a sustainable program wherein itong mga players pwede pang gumaling, pwede pang lumakas. They’ll have the chance to play abroad, [and] represent the country in whatever tournament.”

(We want a sustainable program wherein the players can still get better and stronger. They’ll have the chance to play abroad and represent the country in whatever tournament. 

Rivals turned teammates

Aside from Gumabao and Lazaro, United VC will debut with ex-Adamson standout Erika Alkuino, La Salle’s Wensh Tiu, and a few other names as the team’s full lineup is soon expected.

Previously slated to debut for the All-Filipino conference in May, United VC’s management considered playing at an earlier date to gauge the team’s areas for improvement.

“The players of this team will be playing with pride. They feel that they have more to give than what they have sowed in their current teams, clubs, or schools,” mused Ylaya.

“They have been wanting to explore more. The players of this team, meron pa silang ibubuga at ipapakita.”

(The players of this team still have a lot to give and show to the fans.)

Most importantly, Ylaya remains positive that the team will stay true to its moniker to show everybody that an eminent club knows no competition.

“We want to show the fans that even though these players used to be rivals on the court before, they can actually play together – and play well in fact. – Rappler.com


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