Only 16 of the invited 40 female volleyball players showed up to participate in a one-day tryout for the Philippine women’s volleyball pool that would compete in the 31st Southeast Asian Games late this year.

/ 29 April 2021

Jaja Santiago, who recently helped the Saitama Ageo Medics to the Japanese V.Cup title, bannered the list of aspirants composed of veterans and collegiate players in the tryouts held at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority on Wednesday.

National team veterans Aby Maraño, Mary Joy Baron, and Mylene Paat were among the 16 aspirants who were present for the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF)-organized tryout supervised by head coach Odjie Mamon for the women’s pool in this year’s SEA Games in Vietnam.

Joining them were Eya Laure, Iris Tolenada, Ria Meneses, Dell Palomata, Kamille Cal, Mhicaela Belen, Ivy Lacsina, Alyssa Solomon, Jennifer Nierva, Faith Nisperos, Imee Hernandez and Bernadette Pepito.

Santiago, Laure, and Paat—who are teammates at Cherry Tiggo—even wore red personal protective equipment during the drills.

All the young stars who participated in the tryouts, coaches, and staff followed strict health protocols with all participants undergoing swab tests over the last two days.

The players to the coaches also wore masks during the entire proceedings in accordance with the safety protocols mandated by Dr. Raul Canlas, medical commission head of both the PNVF and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

“The federation puts the health and safety of the participants in equal footing with our goal of forming the national teams as soon as possible,” said PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara.

Sazure uttered that the national team could also take action in the Asian Women’s Championships in August only if the Asian Volleyball Confederation awards hosting chores to the Philippines.

National Teams Commission head Tony Liao said on Tuesday that these 16 players are likely to secure their spots in the 25-member pool.

23 players declined the PNVF tryouts invitation due to fears of getting sick with the virus including the previous national team members Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado, Rhea Dimaculangan, Ces Molina, Maddie Madayag, Dawn Macandili, and Kath Arado.

Sta. Lucia’s MJ Phillips was supposed to participate in the tryouts but she was forced to go into quarantine after a staff member in her club tested positive for Covid-19.

Kalei Mau, Kianna Dy, Kim Fajardo, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Alohi Robins-Hardy, Jasmine Nabor, MJ Philips, Myla Pablo, Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon, Risa Sato, Denden Lazaro-Revilla, and Marist Layug as well as junior players Angel Canino, Thea Gagate, Lorene Toring, and Alleiah Malaluan also did not attend.

Moreover, men’s and beach volleyball teams will have their tryouts on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

The coaches of the four national teams will deliberate on May 1 over their respective 25-member pools before PNVF president Tats Suzara makes the announcement on May 7.

The federation is considering starting the bubble training of all teams by May 15 in Subic.

“When the training begins tentatively on May 15 in Subic, the coaches especially in the women’s volleyball team will analyze if the pool will be good to play in the forthcoming Hanoi SEA Games. If not, a possible second tryout will be called,” Liao said.