John Vic De Guzman has witnessed firsthand the progress of the country’s men’s volleyball program.
And this time, the veteran hitter is confident that the national team has finally gained a bit of respect at the international level of competition.
“Sabi nga nina coach, dati sa Southeast Asia o international tournaments, sasabihin na ‘Philippines, lista.’ Ibig sabihin madaling talunin. Ngayon hindi na,” De Guzman said in an edition of Rappler talk last Thursday, October 21.
“Isa yun sa mga goal natin, na kahit papaano ma-earn yung respect ng ibang bansa every time na magcompete tayo sa international level.”
(Like what our coach said, back then, the Philippines was always underrated in international events. But now, it’s different. That’s one of our goals: to earn respect every time we compete internationally.)
De Guzman was part of the national team’s fairy tale run in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines, where they dethroned the powerhouse team of Thailand before settling for a silver-medal finish.
The Philippine team mainstay hopes that all the delayed developmental plans and tournaments from 2019 will continue in order to recruit future talents and keep the program running.
“Importante na magtuloy-tuloy yung mga tournament at training,” he said. “Yung mga tournaments dyan, since bumabalik na tayo sa normal, maganda na matuloy na yung mga nadelayed noong 2019. Malaking bagay talaga na may training at international exposure.”
“And hopefully, kapag dumating na yung point na mas madami ang tumangkilik sa volleyball, mas mapapadali sa amin to recruit better and taller players.”
(Tournaments and training are very important for us. I hope that all the delayed programs from 2019 can start now since we’re going back to normal. And hopefully, we can recruit better and taller players.)
De Guzman remains one of the core players of men’s volleyball as he recently saw action in the 2021 Asian Club Volleyball Championships in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Although team Rebisco finished the tournament with just one win, De Guzman said the experience against tough Asian teams can help the country, especially in the next SEA Games.
“Sobrang happy kasi nagkaroon ka ng opportunity na makapaglaro against Olympians,” the Philippine team captain said. “Magandang experience sa national team na makalaban yung teams outside Southeast Asia. Ang dami naming natutunan sa kanila and I think ma-iaapply namin yun sa SEA Games.”
(We’re very happy because we were able to compete against Olympians. That’s a good experience for the national team and hopefully, we can apply that in SEA Games.)
For now, De Guzman is ready to pass the torch to the next generation of players as he expects the future men’s volleyball team to exceed what they have achieved.
“Ang pinaka-goal namin for men’s volleyball is to become bigger,” De Guzman said. “Hopefully sa future, hindi man kami yung makakuha ng goals namin, at least as early as now nasimulan namin para sa future generation.”
(Our goal is to make men’s volleyball bigger. Even if we can’t achieve our goals now, hopefully, the future generation can.) – Rappler.com