Only professional players will be called up when the Philippine National Volleyball Federation assembles the composition of the women’s national team for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia next year.
PNVF national team commission chairman Tonyboy Liao told Daily Tribune on Tuesday that the federation is looking at tapping the top athletes from the Premier Volleyball League to represent the country in the Phnom Penh edition of the biennial meet set to begin on 5 May 2023.
“It was already agreed upon by the PNVF that the national team selection will again come from the PVL and will be made to represent the national team in the SEA Games,” Liao, an old hand in volleyball who is also the PVL commissioner, said.
Liao added that national team head coach Jorge Edson de Brito “will do a selection from the PVL based on their performance in the Reinforced Conference.”
The import-laden Reinforced Conference will begin 8 October.
This is not the first time that the Philippines will send an all-pro national squad on the international stage.
In fact, the PVL had already loaned powerhouse Creamline to carry the tricolors in two prestigious international competitions despite short notice.
Despite losing ace hitter Alyssa Valdez due to dengue, the Cool Smashers took on the challenge of representing the country in the AVC Cup for Women last month where the Tots Carlos and Jema Galanza-bannered Nationals recorded the Philippines’ best finish in the tournament at sixth place.
Just last week, the Creamline flew to Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand to participate in the 2nd ASEAN Grand Prix.
The Cool Smashers came in as a late replacement after the PNVF released players from the original national team composed of the core of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 84 champion National University due to commitment issues.
PNVF had to let go of the college players following the decision of the NU management not to let their student-athletes participate in the PVL Invitational Conference semifinal, which would have served as part of the team’s preparation for the AVC Cup for Women, citing health concerns.
With the collegiate season approaching, Liao said that it would be much easier to request club teams to release their players to the national team than tapping student-athletes.
“The PNVF understands that players coming from the collegiate ranks will not be available because the UAAP, I think, will start February next year, so they won’t be able to train with the national team,” Liao said.
“We understand that by that time they will be focused on the campaign of their respective schools.”
The UAAP, which most of the young players in the national pool play, will run until early May given the season begins in early February.
With this, picking student-athletes for the national team is not a practical choice as they will not be available for training and would risk possible injuries.
“Definitely, there will be no student-athletes in the national team because we know they are busy with their preparations for the UAAP,” Liao said.