Despite a botched Asian campaign, the National University (NU) women’s volleyball team remains determined, eager to defend its title in Season 85 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) this October.
Lady Bulldogs head coach Karl Dimaculangan said they have already moved on from the heartbreaking incident in which the leadership of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) sacked them from the national team after they declined to see action in the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference.
Aside from Dimaculangan, also getting the boot from the squad that was supposed to see action in the AVC Cup that the country will host from 21 to 29 August were key players Ivy Lacsina, Bella Belen, Princess Robles, Alyssa Solomon, Kamille Cal and Jen Nierva as well as Shaira Jardio, Evangeline Alinsug, Shena Toring, Nicole Mata, Camila Lamina and Joyme Cagande.
The squad has been training for the Asian tourney for the past three weeks before the federation decided to pull the plug last Sunday.
“Everything goes back to normal for now,” Dimaculangan, who steered the Lady Bulldogs to a perfect campaign in Season 84, said.
“We focus on the recovery since some of the players need to get back their forms and recover from their injuries. We need to make the most of the time we have.”
With Kobe Shinwa Women’s University begging off from competing in the semifinals of the PVL, the federation pulled off a shocker when it announced that the national squad, which is composed of 10 Lady Bulldogs, will serve as its replacement.
Sideliners stressed that there was no prior coordination between the federation and the NU management, prompting team manager Bing See Diet to decide that they will not push through with the PVL campaign as most of their players are still nursing minor injuries.
The decision didn’t sit well with the federation, which immediately came up with a scathing letter to NU president Renato Carlos Ermita Jr. “releasing” the Lady Bulldogs from the national team program.
“Our safety is our topmost priority,” Nierva said in a tweet a day after getting the boot.
“Still, we’re grateful for everything. 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.”
Dimaculangan agrees, saying that their main focus right now is their looming UAAP campaign.