Brazilian coach explains Valdez, Morado's exclusion from national team

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2021 01:29 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2021 01:49 PM

Brazilian coach explains Valdez, Morado's exclusion from national team

MANILA, Philippines -- Jorge Souza de Brito, the consultant for the Philippine women's national volleyball team, believes they have put together a strong pool even without some of the top players in the country.

The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) will send two women's teams -- Team Choco Mucho and Team Rebisco -- to the Asian Women's Club Volleyball Championship in Thailand next month.

The teams feature a mix of veterans and young players who will be making their international debuts at the senior level. 

However, excluded from the national team pool were the Creamline pair of Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado, both of whom have regularly suited up for the Philippines in previous years. 

Also missing the cut is Petro Gazz libero Kath Arado, who earned Best Libero honors in the recently concluded Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference.

The exclusion of Valdez and Morado raised eyebrows among volleyball fans, especially after the federation decided to add more players into the national team pool.

"I need some fresh blood," Souza de Brito answered when asked for a reason for their decision not to put Valdez and Morado into the pool. "Some fresh players, younger and taller."

Courtesy of the Philippine Sportswriters Association

Valdez, 28, and Morado, 26, earned First Best Open Spiker and Best Setter honors, respectively, in the 2021 PVL Open Conference. Moreover, both have represented the Philippines in various international events including the 2018 Asian Games and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

The 23-year-old Arado was also part of the 2019 SEA Games team.

The PNVF initially named only 16 players to the women's national team pool, all of whom participated in a one-day tryout in May. After the PVL Open Conference, they added Kalei Mau, Dawn Macandili, Kim Dy, Tin Tiamzon, MJ Phillips, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Rhea Dimaculangan, Jema Galanza, Deanna Wong, and Kat Tolentino into the pool.

"It was out of my hands, kasi hindi na ako 'yung namili noon," national team coach Odjie Mamon said of the selection of these players. "With regards to the selection, it's done, it's done with, and we are very hopeful of this team."

Courtesy of the Philippine Sportswriters Association

Even as questions continue to be asked about the federation's criteria for selection, Souza de Brito assured that the pool they have now is perfectly capable of shining on the international stage.

"For this time, I think you have here all the best," he said.

"Let me just tell you," the coach added. "It's good you have access, everyone have access to social media. But it's not where I make my decision. I respect them, but we all together, the coaches, we're always trying to do the best for the volleyball team."

The Asian Women's Club Volleyball Championship runs from October 1-7 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.