THE road to Hanoi started inside the Subic Gymnasium bubble on Wednesday with 16 aspirants—a mix of veterans and promising collegiate players—answering the whistle in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) tryouts for the women’s volleyball team.
Jaja Santiago—to date the most successful Filipina with a championship she earned with Ageo Medics in the Japan V.League—joins fellow 2019 Southeast Asian Games veterans Aby Maraño, Majoy Baron, Mylene Paat and Eya Laure in the tryouts supervised by women’s Head Coach Odjie Mamon.
Among the veterans who joined tryouts were Iris Tolenada, Ria Meneses, Dell Palomata, while the collegiate hopefuls were Kamille Cal, Mhicaela Belen, Ivy Lacsina, Alyssa Solomon, Jennifer Nierva, Faith Nisperos, Imee Hernandez and Bernadette Pepito.
Santiago and teammates Laure and Paat were clad in their red PPE-like Cherry Tigo practice uniforms as they gamely participated in skills tests at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority facility.
The participants observed protocols—with the players and coaches wearing face masks throughout the proceedings in accordance with health and safety protocols set 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,” PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara, adding the teams will be fielded in the Hanoi SEA Games in November and possible in the Asian Women’s Championships in August—in the event the Asian Volleyball Confederation awards the hosting chores to the country.
MJ Phillips couldn’t join the tryouts as she was forced to go into quarantine after a staff in her Sta. Lucia team tested positive of Covid-19 only the other day.
The men’s volleyball tryouts are scheduled on Thursday and the beach volleyball tryouts are set on Friday. The participants immediately returned to Manila after the exercise on board quarantined buses.