The national women’s volleyball team will not be seeing action when the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference semifinal round resumes on Monday, 8 August at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
According to Sports Vision chief Ricky Palou, the Nationals made a last-minute withdrawal after they failed to secure the green light from Mariano See Diet – their team manager at National University.
Palou said See Diet expressed concerns about the possibility of getting injured due to the high level of competition in the country’s lone professional women’s league.
With that, the PVL was reduced to only five teams with Creamline, PLDT Home Fibr, Cignal, Army, and guest team KingWhale of Chinese Taipei vying for the crown.
KingWhale will open the hostilities when it battles Army at 2:30 p.m. while Creamline shoots for its third straight win when it collides with Cignal in the 5:30 p.m. main battle.
“That’s what the national team told us — they’re not joining,” said Palou in a phone conversation with Daily Tribune.
“We’ll just have to make do with five teams in the semifinals.”
Another source said some of the NU players are still nursing minor injuries so skipping the PVL will allow them to recuperate in preparation for the AVC Asian Cup from 21 to 29 August at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
“The national team was only told yesterday that they will join the PVL. When the NU management learned about this, they asked the players if they wanted to join and they declined,” a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
“The players aren’t ready to play in the PVL at the moment. Even the coaches admitted that the players begged off to focus on the AVC.”
The insider added that the grueling schedule of the PVL in the coming days could affect their recovery.
“The PVL schedule is non-stop and there are some players who are nursing minor injuries,” the source said, refusing to divulge further details.
“You can set a limit to them during practice but in a real game, knowing the girls will really give their all, it’s hard to predict what will happen.”
The Lady Bulldogs in the national team roster are Michaela Belen, Joyme Cagande, Ivy Lacsina, Shaira Jardio, Evangeline Alinsug, Cess Robles, Sheena Toring, Jen Nierva, Nicole Mata, Alyssa Solomon, Camilla Lamina, and Kamille Cal.
Also in the fold are Akari’s Trisha Genesis and Jelai Gajero from California Precision Sports.
The Nationals have already been training for a month in preparation for prestigious continental battle where they are set to clash with China, Iran, South Korea, and Vietnam.
The Kobe Shinwa Women’s University of Japan earlier pulled out of the PVL semis due to Covid issues after one of its student-athletes yielded positive RT-PCR result few moments before the team’s scheduled flight to the country.
The rest of Kobe Shinwa squad were close contacts.