MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The best local team in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference will represent the country in the AVC Cup for Women that starts on August 21 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) made the announcement on Sunday.
The federation originally tapped the core of the National University women's volleyball team to represent the Philippines, with 12 of the team's 14 members hailing from the Lady Bulldogs.
But the PNVF has reversed its decision, with federation president Ramon "Tats" Suzara informing NU president Dr. Carlos Ermita Jr. of the development, also on Sunday.
"We are now writing to inform your good office , though with much regret, that we shall be releasing the NU student-athletes and coaches from the National Training Program, effective today [Sunday], 7 August 2022," the PNVF said in a letter to Ocampo.
In explaining the decision, the PNVF said: "We have been compelled to make this difficult yet important decision due to the recent turn of events within the team's training schedule and corresponding availability."
"We feel that the said student-athletes and coaches, alongside the team manager Engineer Bing Diet, may not be able to commit to perform at their best level given a number of restrictions and conditions that hinder the continuous conduct of training and overall program."
The Lady Bulldogs who were released from the national team program were: reigning UAAP rookie-MVP Bella Belen, Ivy Lacsina, Shaira Jardio, Evangeline Alinsug, Cess Robles, Sheena Toring, Jen Nierva, Nicole Mata, Alyssa Solomon, Camilla Lamina, Kamille Cal and Joyme Cagande.
The national team was originally set to participate in the semifinals of the PVL Invitational Conference, replacing Japan's Kobe Shinwa University which had to withdraw due to health and safety protocols.
However, the Lady Bulldogs were not granted the go-signal to compete, compelling the national team to pull out of the Invitational Conference as well. The national team was supposed to play reigning Open Conference champion Creamline on Monday.
The Invitational Conference would have served as the squad's tune-up for the AVC Cup for Women.
According to Suzara, the PNVF will ask the best local team of the Invitational Conference to include the two non-NU players on the program -- Jelai Gajero of California Precision Sports and Trisha Genesis of Akari -- to be the 13th and 14th players in their line-up.
PVL president Richard “Ricky” Palou, also the PNVF treasurer, as well as the management of the potential winners of the Invitational, agreed to lend their players for the AVC Cup event set from August 21 to 29.
The PVL Invitational is currently in its semifinal stage with Creamline ahead with a 2-0 won-lost card, followed by PLDT (2-1), Cignal (1-1) and Army (0-3).
The national team would have been one of two guest teams, along with KingWhale Taipei.