MANILA, Philippines – Even if Isa Molde has a bigger responsibility as team captain of the newly formed Philippine women’s Under-23 squad, the University of the Philippines (UP) stalwart just feels happy to achieve her dream of suiting up for the national team again.
“For me kasi, dream come true siya,” Molde said. “And may chance kami na maka-tune up ng ibang teams sa RP and siguro sobrang excited ako makalaro sila kasi ‘yung iba na naglalaro sa national team, hindi namin [nakakalaro sa collegiate or sa pro].“
“Idol din namin [sila] noong high school kami and hanggang ngayon,” she added. (SEA Games 2019: Valdez, Santiago banner PH volleyball pool)
(For me, it’s a dream come true. We have a chance to tune up with the other national teams and I guess I’m excited to play against them because we don’t get to compete against them in the UAAP or professional league. They were also our idols when we were high school and until now.)
Molde – who suited up for the Under-17 national team in 2014 – actually didn’t know she made the cut until she received a call from Under-23 national team coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes, who asked her to be the team captain of the youth squad. (LIST: PH volleyball team pools for SEA Games 2019)
“[Papunta] na dapat ako para sa class tapos tumawag si coach Kung Fu sabi niya: ‘Isa, punta ka ba mamaya? Ikaw gagawin kong team captain ha?‘” Molde recalled during the national team pool announcement on Friday, March 8.
(I was getting ready to go to class then coach Kung Fu called me and said: ‘Isa, are you going to the national team announcement event? I’m going to make you the team captain.’)
“Sabi ko, ‘Ha?’ Hindi ako maka-hindi kasi nahihiya naman ako humindi kay coach. Sabi ko, ‘Sige po.‘”
(I said ‘Huh?’ I can’t say no because I was so embarrassed to do so, so I just said ‘Okay, coach.’)
The 2016 UAAP Rookie of the Year initially thought her shy personality wouldn’t make her fit to be captain, but she’s now taking it as a challenge to be more vocal on and off the court.
According to Reyes, the Under-23 squad will most likely concentrate on training after the UAAP ends.
Even if Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc scrapped out plans to join the Asian Volleyball Confederation women’s Under-23 tournament, Reyes hopes to make up for it in their international training camps in China and Japan.
“As of now kasi, lahat, ‘yung iba nasa UAAP, ‘yung iba nasa club teams, lahat ng mga player namin, naka-condition na iyan. It’s a matter of jelling nalang,” Reyes said.
(As of now, everyone is either in the UAAP or the club teams, so all our players will be well-conditioned. It’s a matter of jelling.) – Rappler.com