She was invited -- national team coach Vicente on Jia Morado 'snub'
National women's team head coach Francis Jia Morado speaks up on Jia Morado 'snub' in the PHI selection.
The roster of the national women’s volleyball team pool drew flak from fans on social media after some notable ‘snubs’ in the announcement made by head coach Francis Vicente Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Manila.
Despite a star-studded cast led by three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez, setter Kim Fajardo, Mika Reyes, Denden Lazaro and Jaja Santiago, Vicente as well as Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. were criticized and bashed because of the absence of popular names including those of Ateneo de Manila playmaker Jia Morado and De La Salle’s Ara Galang and Majoy Baron.
Galang attended the Manila tryouts but failed to make the cut while Baron didn’t join the tryouts and was not in the list of invited players.
Vicente, who molded Valdez and Fajardo into superstars after recruiting the duo from Batangas to play for University of Sto. Tomas high school, cleared that Morado was invited to join the selection.
“She was invited (to join the pool),” said Vicente of the 21-year-old Morado, who was the main setter of the national team that played in the 2015 Asian U-23 and 28th Singapore SEA Games.
Morado currently tops the setting department in the ongoing UAAP Season 79 where Ateneo is on top with a 7-1 win-loss record.
After the nationwide tryouts in Manila, Cebu and Davao, LVPI held a special tryout for those players currently playing in the UAAP on Sunday. National team assistant coach Bryan Esquibel handed the letters to the chosen players - Morado, Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag of Ateneo, Kim Dy and Dawn Macandili of La Salle, Remy Palma and Toni Rose Basas of Far Eastern University, Isa Molde of University of the Philippines and Jasmine Nabor of National University.
Madayag, Tolentino, Macandili and Dy were included in the pool as Vicente’s handpicked selections who are projected to banner the U-23 team.
Vicente tapped Fajardo, veteran Rhea Dimaculangan and 6-foot-1 Roselle Baliton of University of the East as his playmakers, giving premium on experience and height.
“Kapag isinama si Jia ang dami na nating setter. Meron ka ng Dimaculangan at may Kim Fajardo ka na na naglaro sa (2016 FIVB) World Club,” he said.
An answer unacceptable to fans.
But Vicente stood by his decision.
Citing that Fajardo’s participation in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in October last year was a plus while Dimaculangan, whom he also handled back in UST, played for AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship last September.
“Sa World Club pa lang nakita na natin ang laro niya (Fajardo) sa pagiging setter niya, hinangaan na siya ng ibang countries,” Vicente said. “Si Rhea matagal na sa national team, she’s with experience at the same time ‘yung system of training alam na rin niya.”
The mentor defended his decision to choose Baliton.
“Tapos si Baliton, 6’1", because of her height may advantage na agad ang Pilipinas. So nakikita naman during the UAAP na paangat nang paangat ang setter so nandon siya sa stage ng developmental pa pero potential siya,” added Vicente, who is also the head coach of UE.
Other players included in the list are Rachel Anne Daquis, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aby Marano, Dindin Manabat, Lourdes Clemente, Gen Casugod, Maika Ortiz, Marivic Meneses, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Myla Pablo, Gretchel Soltones and Elaine Kasilag and liberos Bia General and Kath Arado.
From the 25-woman pool, Vicente will pick the players that will see action in the Asian U-23 Women’s Volleyball tournament in Thailand on May 13 to 21, the AVC Women’s Senior Volleyball Champion in Manila on August 9 to 17 and the 29th Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games on August 19 to 31.
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