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OPINION

Federation with no national team

The PNVF started on the right foot when it called for tryouts in the middle of the pandemic

Despite the odds, Creamline has proven that it has what it takes to represent the country in an international event following a strong finish in the AVC Cup for Women.

But the AVC Cup is not a tournament for Creamline to play.

The honor of representing the country actually belongs to the young and promising national team, which is composed of members of National University.

But because the Lady Bulldogs offended the feelings of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation leadership, they were sacked from the national team program and the Cool Smashers were called up at the last minute to represent the country.

Surprisingly, Creamline delivered.

For a team that was given a very late call-up, with two key players in Alyssa Valdez and Risa Sato sitting out because of illnesses, Creamline turned doubters into believers when it finished sixth — a massive improvement from the country’s ninth-place performance in 2018.

The PNVF was impressed. Now, it is giving Creamline girls the ultimate prize of seeing action in another international tournament — the ASEAN Grand Prix in Nakhon Ratchasima this September.

Funny, because right after sports pages were put to bed, the PNVF issued a statement, congratulating the Cool Smashers for a job well done.

Oops… Don’t get flattered, ladies.

The PNVF is sending these Cool Smashers to the Grand Prix not because it believes in them, but because it has no national team to speak of following the firing of the 10 Lady Bulldogs.

It is another band-aid solution — a quick fix — that aims to mask the federation’s incompetence to come up with a solid national team program.

Sure, the Cool Smashers can go to Thailand to represent the country in the ASEAN Grand Prix. After all, they have an intact roster and a corporate sponsor that has the resources to cover their airfare, accommodation and allowance.

But what about the upcoming tourneys like, say, the Southeast Asian Games or the Asian Games?

Will Creamline — a professional team — go out of its way and abandon its campaign in the Premier Volleyball League just to compete in a tourney specially made for national teams?

The PNVF started on the right foot when it called for tryouts in the middle of the pandemic.

Then, it hired a Brazilian coach with glowing credentials to give its national team program a semblance of legitimacy and its local volleyball fans a reason to believe again.

But just when everything was already in cruise control, the federation suddenly pulled the plug by firing the members of the national squad whose only fault was to focus on their training for the AVC Cup.

Wow!

I don’t know, but there’s something terribly wrong in this picture.

We have a federation, but we don’t have a national team.

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