Head coach Francis Vicente stood by his coaching staff’s decision in choosing the 18 players that composed the national women’s volleyball team pool.
But the mentor mentioned the name of De La Salle University star Kim Dy as the hardest one among the original 27 members of the pool to cut in the Final 18 list.
“Napakahirap (niyang tanggalin) kasi alam naman natin ‘yung laro niya sa UAAP maganda. Mahirap din, mahirap,” said of Vicente of the 21-year-old opposite hitter, who helped the Lady Spikers win back-to-back titles in the UAAP.
Vicente together with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. president Joey Romasanta and vice president Peter Cayco announced the roster Friday at the Arellano Gym in Taft Avenue.
Vicente said that he and his coaching staff deliberated and voted on who will be included in the list. And it was no easy task, he said.
“Nag-vote eh. Hindi ako puwedeng lumihis sa vote na ‘yun. Hindi ako lang ang coach d’yan,” he said. “Kung ako lang mag-isa madaling mamili ng players. Pero nagbotohan eh.”
Superstar Alyssa Valdez led the list that will undergo extensive training in Japan and Korea as preparation for the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Former DLSU star Mika Reyes was named team captain.
Dy, named UAAP Finals MVP back in Season 78, was among the original members of the pool but the coaching staff decided to go with veteran opposites Jovelyn Gonzaga and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas.
“You cannot have so many opposites sa isang team. Ni-rank namin ‘yan by specialization,” said Vicente.
Dy’s teammates libero Dawn Macandili and setter Kim Fajardo made the list.
“Siyempre sad ako (na di ko kasama ang BFF ko) pero hindi pa naman ito ang last na SEA Games,” said Macandili, who bagged the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Most Valuable Player last year. “I think that Kianna has the potential pero ‘yun nga mayroon pa kasing players (n aka-position niya) and siguro ‘yung mga coaches na nag-decide may standard sila na sinusunod. Parang may strategy sila sa pagpili ng players.”
Other members of the pool are Denden Lazaro, Abigail Marano, Gen Casugod, Maika Ortiz, Lourdes Clemente, Jaja Santiago, Ces Molina, Kath Arado, Rachel Anne Daquis, Ria Meneses, Rhea Dimaculangan and Roselle Baliton.
The 18 players will be nipped to 12 when they come back from their foreign training. The Final 12 will officially banner the tri-color in the biennial meet set on August 19-30.
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