It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) had already lost the support of its stakeholders following the injustice it committed against National University (NU) women’s team.
You see, the PNVF was all over social media the past week.
Players were restless, fans were angry, sponsors turned cold and the entire volleyball community was up in arms, seeking justice for the firing of 10 Lady Bulldogs from the national team following their refusal to play in the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference.
The federation tried to manage the crisis, tasking a foreigner in Brazilian coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito to grant media interviews just to deodorize its name like Pontius Pilate washing his hands to pacify the angry mob of protesters.
Nope. It wasn’t effective.
A prominent team owner even messaged me, saying that he completely lost his faith in the federation.
“The federation doesn’t shoulder the allowance, the scholarship, the dormitory and other expenses of these athletes. If they get injured, it’s the school or the club, in this case NU, which will foot the medical bill,” the team owner said.
Sure, he is right.
Universities and clubs are spending a fortune just to keep these players on the floor.
The Lady Bulldogs, for instance, are said to be the most pampered, the most sheltered volleyball team in the country.
In fact, its team manager Bing See Diet is taking a very hands-on approach, making sure that his players will have everything they need physically, mentally, emotionally and, yes, financially so they can perform at their best.
In short, the PNVF is just merely “borrowing” these players. It may sound cruel, but the reality is that Souza de Brito — or even the entire federation — doesn’t have a say on what the NU management wants to do with its players.
They don’t own the players.
For the longest time, NU has been very cooperative and supportive to the national team program.
It made a major gamble by sending its players to Subic right at the peak of the pandemic just to shoot for their slots in the national squad. It also allowed them to fly to Thailand with a very meager allowance just to campaign in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship.
But now that the Lady Bulldogs were not allowed to grant a last-minute invitation to compete in a commercial league, the federation threw a tantrum, roasting its kindhearted sponsor for making a bold decision that, in the first place, actually belongs to him and the NU management.
Wow! Who do they think they are?
Anyway, with the Lady Bulldogs fired from the national team, there is no longer a developmental program to speak of and the PNVF is back to its old habit of assembling a rag-tag team out of “borrowed” players from clubs and universities.
Will this system work until, say, the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in May?
I doubt it.
After all, the PNVF already lost the trust, respect and support of its stakeholders, making it look like a general without an army.