The match between the Bureau of Customs Transformers and the Laoag Power Smashers had so much more going on than a volleyball match in the Reinforced Conference of the Shakey’s V-League.
BOC came back twice from being a set down to win in five thrilling sets (18-25, 27-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-9).
I’ve seen Alyssa Valdez dish out some amazing performances in the past seven years but this has to go down as one of her best ever. The Phenomenal One scored 39 points to smash a SVL scoring record to carry a crippled team that was missing four players.
We will get to that point in a bit.
Valdez got some great help from her teammates who were allowed to step on the Taraflex court. Fen Emnas was likewise solid setting what I figure was a personal best of 56 excellent sets who also scored three points. She dug well and even chipped in some solid blocks. Rose Marie Vargas provided double-digit scoring with 16, while Jonah Corpuz, who in my book has always been underrated (while playing for San Sebastian), added nine points including three from blocks.
No doubt it was a tough loss for Laoag that looked like a very solid team with the additions of Grethcel Soltones, Alyssa Eroa, Jorelle Singh, and Aiko Urdas. They fell apart in fifth set as the tide turned in the fourth set.
What was the problem for BOC?
This was the second straight match (and they are lucky on one hand and very strong on the other to be up 2-0 despite being dealt that bad hand) where the BOC team missed players.
In the first match, Thai imports Kanjana Kuthaisong and Nattanicha Jaisaen were not allowed to suit up because they had not secured their International Transfer Certificates.
Following their debut win over University of the Philippines, in three sets no less, BOC’s Pau Soriano and Lilet Mabbayad found themselves in the middle of controversy as the Philippine Super Liga announced sanctions towards the two for playing in the SVL despite them being attached to the Philippine Navy that plays in their league and breaking an agreement between the two about exclusive participation until December 31, 2016.
The two didn’t suit up for the Laoag game and so did the Thais much to the consternation of BOC officials who sought for an explanation.
Richard Palou, president of Sports Vision that manages the SVL, released a statement to the media prior to the match that tried to clarify matters.
“To all fans and media friends of the Shakey's V-League, we would like to clear the situation with regards to the unavailability of the imports of the Bureau of Customs - Ms. Kanjana Kuthaisong and Ms. Nattanicha Jaisaen -- for today's match against the Laoag Power Smashers.
“The Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas (LVPI), much to our surprise and concern, has been unable to access the Volleyball Information System (VIS) that contains the application of the International Transfer Certificate. Apparently, the access codes provided to LVPI have been denied.
“With the help of LVPI, we have requested help from the FIVB to resolve this and to ascertain what occurred with access codes. Hopefully, all will be resolved within the next 24 hours.
“Unfortunately, the two Thai imports will be unavailable to play today. We will keep you apprised of the situation. Your support is much appreciated.”
This whole mess reeks of something sinister, a hidden hand with an agenda. Why is it that the LVPI could access the Volleyball Information System one day and cannot the next? When “access is denied” it means a couple of things -- it is being blocked or the password has been changed. Who changed it and why? It cannot be a glitch in the system because another prompt will come out to the effect of system is down or something.
Apparently, as of this morning, LVPI is now able to access the system. Why was it down prior to the match? That is a suspicious inconvenience.
BOC officials demanded to know who is responsible for this mess and the filing of appropriate charges should malicious intent be found out.
This cannot be an isolated incident as the BOC team isn’t the only one to have import problems. Another squad participating was told that they would only receive assistance in securing foreign players in exchange for a favor. That team declined.
Inquiring minds want to know what is going on.
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.