MANILA, Philippines – Despite securing a Philippine passport earlier this year, Fil-Hawaiian Kalei Mau may not don the Philippine colors for the women's volleyball team in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Mau, who has been training with the national squad, still needs to secure a release from the United States Volleyball Association to play for the Philippines in compliance with FIVB rules.
Under Article 5 of the FIVB Sports Regulations regarding the Change of Federation of Origin, the international federation can only approve the application if the athlete has "established residence in the country of his new Federation of Origin (hereinafter "the new Federation") for a minimum of two (2) continuous years immediately prior to the time of filing the application for the Change."
Mau, who already saw action for the Philippines in some tune-up tournaments, will also need both national federations involved to agree to the change.
For now, the former US NCAA spiker will remain in the 15-man roster as she completes the requirements before the team managers meeting of the regional tournament that the country will host starting late November.
Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) president Joey Romasanta and LVPI training director Peter Cayco, though, remain confident that the Philippines has a strong shot at ending its 14-year medal drought.
Cayco said the two-week intensive training in Japan last month has tremendously improved the team's chemistry, which was evident during their practices and scrimmages with the Japanese ball clubs.
With only 4 teams competing in the event, Romasanta believes the Nationals have a chance against Indonesia and Vietnam, but admits 11-time defending champion Thailand continues to be a challenge.
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.