MANILA, Philippine – The champion core of the National University Lady Bulldogs will no longer get a chance to represent the Philippines in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup this August.
Just hours after the NU-loaded Philippine team pulled out of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference semifinal round, the sport’s federation released UAAP rookie MVP Bella Belen and the Lady Bulldogs from the national pool.
Ramon “Tats” Suzara, president of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF), said the young players may not be able to “commit to perform at their best level given a number of restrictions and conditions” set by the school.
“We have been compelled to make this difficult yet important decision due to the recent turn of events within the team’s training schedule and corresponding availability,” Suzara said in a letter to NU president Dr. Carlos Ermita Jr. on Sunday, August 7.
“We feel that the said student-athletes and coaches, alongside the team manager Engineer Bing Diet, may not be able to commit to perform at their best level given a number of restrictions and conditions that hinder the continuous conduct of training and overall program.”
The PNVF had fielded the NU-powered Philippine team in the PVL semifinals, noting that the tournament can be used as a buildup to their participation in the AVC Cup from August 21 to 29, where they will face China, Iran, South Korea, and Vietnam at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
However, NU team manager Mariano See Diet did not allow the collegiate players to compete in the PVL, raising possible injury concerns as the semifinal games will be played daily starting Monday, August 8.
The PVL development also came last minute as the Philippine team only came into the picture on Saturday, August 6, after Japan’s Kobe Shinwa Women’s University begged off due to a COVID-19 case.
“However difficult it may have been, please trust that with this decision, we have considered to serve only the best interests and utmost welfare of the student-athletes, the coaches, the university management, the national team program, while keeping aligned with PNVF’s strategic goals,” the PNVF said.
With the NU players dropped from the national team roster, the PNVF decided that the PVL Invitational Cup champion will represent the Philippines instead in the AVC Cup.
The NU Lady Bulldogs, who completed a historic season sweep to rule UAAP Season 84 this year, had already been training for a month in preparation for the continental meet.
Aside from Belen, the NU players released from the national team lineup were Alyssa Solomon, Jen Nierva, Ivy Lacsina, Cess Robles, Sheena Toring, Joyme Cagande, Shaira Jardio, Evangeline Alinsug, Nicole Mata, Camilla Lamina, and Kamille Cal.
NU coach Karl Dimaculangan was also dropped from the national team coaching roster headed by Brazilian mentor Jorge Edson Souza de Brito.
The PNVF said, though, it will request the PVL champion to add to its lineup Trisha Genesis of Akari and Jelai Gajero of California Precision Sports – the two non-NU players training with the national team.
With the whirlwind of development, the stake likewise just got bigger for PVL semifinalists Creamline, Army, Cignal, and PLDT as they will be fighting not only for the crown but also a spot in the AVC Cup. – Rappler.com