Several veterans beg off, but volleyball team tryouts to push through

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 27 2021 07:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Several high profile players, including Alyssa Valdez, will not take part in the tryouts for the national volleyball team set in Subic on Wednesday.

Indeed, only 17 of the 40 players who were invited are expected to show up, several of whom are student-athletes. 

Tony Boy Liao, the head of the national team commission of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF), explained that health and safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic prompted most of the players to beg off from the tryouts.

"Some players from the PVL clubs are not joining the tryouts … due to COVID-19 (concerns). They have cited health concerns as their reason," Liao explained. 

Nonetheless, the tryouts are set to push through. National team captain Aby Marano and Majoy Baron are among those confirmed to attend. Star middle blocker Jaja Santiago, coming off a title-winning campaign with Ageo Medics in Japan, is also set to take part.

Veteran setter Iris Tolenada will also join, having been invited after the withdrawal of Jovelyn Gonzaga last week. 

According to a statement from the PNVF on Tuesday, the players who will try out have all gone through RT-PCR tests and are expected to arrive in Subic on Wednesday morning. 

Sources close to the situation have confirmed to ABS-CBN News that Petro Gazz spiker Myla Pablo will not take part. F2 Logistics spiker Kalei Mau also announced on Tuesday that she will not be able to make it to the tryouts.

Players of teams owned by Rebisco -- Creamline and Choco Mucho -- will not attend as well. Players from Rebisco-owned teams who were invited include Valdez, Jia Morado, and Risa Sato of Creamline, and Kat Tolentino, Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Denden Lazaro of Choco Mucho. 

Both Creamline and Choco Mucho have been cleared to hold a training camp at the St. Paul American School in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga by the Games and Amusements Board. Their training is expected to start on April 27 and last until May 23. 

At least one student-athlete -- De La Salle University's Angel Canino -- has also begged off from the national team tryouts. On Twitter, her parents explained that they are prioritizing Canino's safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sources with knowledge of the situation have told ABS-CBN News that aside from worries about the COVID-19 pandemic, players are also concerned about their lack of conditioning given their inactivity. Most of the players invited have not played for over a year, after the cancellation of virtually all volleyball tournaments in 2020 due to the global health crisis. 

On the other hand, most of the players invited to try out for the beach volleyball teams and the men's indoor team are expected to attend. 

However, star spiker Bryan Bagunas has begged off as he is still recovering from an injury that he suffered while playing for Oita Miyoshi in Japan.