UE’s Vicente embarks on greater challenge as national team coach

Alyssa Rola
UE’s Vicente embarks on greater challenge as national team coach
The veteran volleyball mentor will have a busy year ahead as he prepares for the upcoming UAAP 79 and SEA Games in August

MANILA, Philippines – The countdown to this year’s Southeast Asian Games formally begins as the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc (LVPI) officially named Francis Vicente as the newest shot-caller for the women’s volleyball squad.

LVPI president Joey Romasanta confirmed Thursday via DZSR Sports Radio the decision to appoint the veteran mentor, who will be tasked to form a 16-man pool that will don the national colors in Kuala Lumpur come August.

As previously announced by the committee, fans can expect a healthy mix of experience and potential, hopefully from a wide range of talent from all over the Philippines.

“It is to be planned well,” Vicente told Rappler. “No schedule yet [for the tryouts] but it will be scheduled soon.”

Impressive resume

In a field of 23 eligible and experienced mentors vying for the same spot, getting selected as national team coach was no easy feat. Vicente, for his part, has put his own mark in Philippine volleyball.

Aside from leading the national youth team in several international tournaments last year, Vicente also serves as the current head coach for the University of the East Lady Warriors in the UAAP.

When he’s not pacing the collegiate sidelines, one can see Vicente calling the shots at the Philippine Superliga stage for the Generika Lifesavers, who recently finished fifth at the 2016 Grand Prix.

Vicente also made a lasting impression in the UAAP juniors as he was the driving force behind w straight titles of powerhouse University of Santo Tomas High School – the same squad that wouls later produce some of the biggest names in the sport including Dindin Santiago Manabat, Alyssa Valdez, Kim Fajardo and Jaja Santiago.

‘To see is to believe’

But even his former players – like 2015 flag bearer Valdez and Magnificent 7 setter Fajardo – have to go through the same process and allot time for the open tryouts. The veteran coach believes that this would be a great opportunity for fresh talents to get their feet wet and gain credible experience, while representing the country.

“Yes it is safe naman [to say that young players have a chance]. Maganda nga ‘yun dahil binibigyan mo ng pag-asa ang matatangkad na bata bata,” mused Vicente.

(Yes it is safe to say that young players have a chance. It’s a good thing because you get to bring some hope to the these tall, younger players.)

The UE mentor made no promises about this year’s national team for SEA Games, but likewise stuck to his philosophy as a longtime coach.

“To see is to believe,” he closed.

Vicente will be joined in Malaysia by University of Perpetual Help’s Sammy Acaylar, who was meanwhile designated to handle the men’s volleyball team. – Rappler.com


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