Philippine volleyball

Nierva, NU move on after national team ouster; PNVF cites schedule conflicts

JR Isaga
Nierva, NU move on after national team ouster; PNVF cites schedule conflicts

Veteran libero Jen Nierva of the NU Lady Bulldogs

UAAP Season 84 Media Team

'Our safety is the topmost priority. Still, we’re grateful for everything,' says veteran NU libero Jen Nierva after the Lady Bulldogs' ejection from the Philippine volleyball team

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran NU libero Jen Nierva is moving on following the sudden removal of the entire Lady Bulldogs from the Philippine women’s volleyball team.

“Our safety is the topmost priority. Still, we’re grateful for everything,” the reigning UAAP Best Libero wrote on Twitter.

“This will not stop us from mastering our craft. I know that no efforts nor sacrifices would be wasted. Time to work harder and come back stronger,” Nierva added.

The entire 12-woman Lady Bulldogs roster was supposed to compete in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup for Women after they were named to the final national team roster alongside Akari pro player Trisha Genesis and California Precision Sports’ Jelai Gajero.

That NU-laden national team was also set to be last-minute replacements for the COVID-stricken Kobe Shinwa Women’s University at the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference, and were about to play for the league championship.

However, last Sunday, August 7, team management pulled the plug on their title-winning team’s participation in the PVL, which was quickly followed by a controversial response by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) to cut NU altogether from the national team.

In a statement, federation president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said that the Lady Bulldogs may not be able to “commit to perform at their best level given a number of restrictions and conditions.”

The federation has since claimed that part of the “restrictions and conditions” they met boiled down to scheduling conflicts.

“I think people can understand what’s going on because the problem is about schedules. The PNVF and coaching staff, [led by head coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito], want a certain schedule and training to be followed,” PVL president and PNVF treasurer Ricky Palou said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“NU, I can understand, given that they’re students with classes or something. They can’t just agree to one schedule, and we weren’t able to match theirs, that’s the problem,” Palou continued.

“The coaching staff and coach Jorge wanted them to go to the PVL because it’s a good tune-up, and they can see what are still lacking against competition, but apparently, NU had a different schedule, probably with classes, and all that. We just can’t match.”

Despite the sudden and widely criticized move by the PNVF, the federation clarified that the Lady Bulldogs are not banned from returning after the AVC Cup.

“As long as they follow coach Jorge’s schedule, I think there will be no problem,” said Palou. “If this is the schedule he wants, they should follow. If they can’t, it’s best to not push through, because it’ll just lead to further conflicts.”

“That’s the complaint of coach Jorge.  He has a program and schedule to follow, and it’s not being followed. He is probably getting frustrated. He’s planning the training, but can’t follow through. That’s really what’s happening,” he added.

For now, the best local team coming from the PVL Invitationals will be asked to represent the country in the AVC Cup from August 21 to 29 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

So far, the PLDT High Speed Hitters have pledged their commitment, and the PNVF is awaiting confirmation from the other teams remaining in the tournament. –

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