PHI volleyball in dire need of unity after so-so SEA Games performance

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 14, 2015 05:53 PM
PHI volleyball in dire need of unity after so-so SEAG stint
I'm hoping and I'm praying na sana magkaroon na ng unity sa volleyball --- men's volleyball coach Oliver Almadro

SINGAPORE -- A river of tears was about to roll out of Oliver Almandro's eyes moments after his men's volleyball squad crashed out of the 28th Southeast Asian Games Sunday at the OCBC Arena Hall 2 here.

It wasn't about the defeat.

It's about something bigger, something grander that could change the landscape of the sport he loves.

"I'm hoping and I'm praying na sana magkaroon na ng unity sa volleyball," said Almandro, the Ateneo de Manila University coach who single-handedly guided the men's squad in the biennial meet.

"God is good. He will never abandon us. All we need is to have a clean mind, a clean heart and unity will be achieved. Kailangan din natin ng patience para makuha natin lahat ng gusto natin sa international competition."

Volleyball is probably one of the most politicized sports in the country.

With Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. in the red corner and the defunct Philippine Volleyball Federation in the blue corner, the formation of the national team headed for the biennial meet greatly suffered as the players chose which side they will play for.

Almandro said four of those in his wish list didn't show up as they are aligned with the PVF.

They were more loyal to the federation rather than to the country.

Fortunately, a bunch of scrappy players from Ateneo responded the call and started training for the national squad. They may not be as talented as those on Almandro's wish list, but they have the heart to compete against the rest of Southeast Asia.

"I told them 'laban na ito. Buwis-buhay na tayo dito,'" he said. "We really don't know kung anong mangyayari pero sana, ituloy ang programa. There should be unity and patience and hard work in the sport. Yan ang pinaka-importante sa lahat."

"Hindi naman para sa amin ito. Para sa bansa lahat ng ginagawa natin."

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