MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Not wanting any conflicts, Creamline players Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado will seek permission from their clubs to join the Philippine women's national volleyball team, both in its training sessions and a possible upcoming competition.
Both Valdez and Morado were included in the 20-woman pool of players, and both stand a good chance of making it to the 14-player line-up that will be sent to the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.
Valdez was a member of the national teams that competed in the 2015 and 2017 Southeast Asian Games, while Morado played in the 2015 squad. They were also part of the team that played in the 2015 Asian Under-23 Volleyball Championship.
"I think the question is not just for us players, but siyempre, may mother teams din kami. We also have managers na we're committed to din, so we have to ask permission from them," Valdez said on Wednesday, after the national team's training session at Arellano Gym.
Valdez, who did not participate in training as she continues to heal from an Achilles sprain in her right foot, said she anticipates a "long process" in getting clearance not just from Creamline, but also from mother company Rebisco.
"If Creamline will see the benefit of this for our team and the national team, I think, there's no question naman. I think we have to meet halfway also because there's a lot of commitments also," said Valdez.
The clearance of their club team is doubly important as the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) has expressed its intent to enter the national team as a guest team in the upcoming Invitational Conference of the Philippine Superliga (PSL).
The Invitational Conference starts on June 23, which may put it in a scheduling conflict with the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League's Reinforced Conference. The Creamline Cool Smashers are already through to the semis.
As it stands, Valdez said there is constant communication with coaches from both sides regarding schedules and plans, particularly when it comes to the schedule of their training sessions. The national team, coached by Shaq delos Santos, has scheduled practices on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the afternoons. Creamline, however, usually practices in the afternoons as well.
"It's still at an early stage for the national team. We're open to talking about our priorities and our commitments and sa mga scheduling," she said. "It's good kasi kailangan talaga natin ng communication and plotting all the schedules para wala tayong maapektuhan."
"We're in the process of talking to our club teams and clarifying," Valdez stressed.
The former Ateneo de Manila University star stressed that as much as she wants to play for flag and country, they also have a commitment to their clubs as well.
"We're committed to them and we're signed to them so that's our responsibility as an athlete. We always talk to them naman," Valdez said.
"Kapag wala namang conflicts sa training or sa games namin, it's OK naman. Pero, of course, we have to honor our commitment to them," she added.
The Cool Smashers are currently in the midst of a month-long break in the PVL, as they are waiting for whom they will play in the semifinals of the Reinforced Conference.
The long layoff is a blessing for Valdez and Morado, who are both recovering from injuries. It also gives them the opportunity to attend national team practices, even if they cannot fully participate in the training sessions.
"It's a blessing in disguise din siguro for us na merong break para makita natin 'yung plans for the national team. And ma-fix na din at this early stage. Aside from that, marami pa taying kailangan i-plot nang maayos para hindi paputol-putol," she said.
Meanwhile, Valdez will continue to recover from her Achilles sprain through weights training and conditioning. She has yet to receive clearance to do more aggressive workouts.
"Kailangan daw bantayan muna," said Valdez.
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