Acaylar axes Espejo, 8 others from national pool

Acaylar axes Espejo, 8 others from national pool
Tapos na ‘yung patience ko sa kanila -- national team coach Sammy Acaylar

Men’s national team head coach Sammy Acaylar formally cut nine members of the pool including four-time UAAP Most Valuable Players Marck Espejo of Ateneo de Manila University after snubbing the Clash of Heroes event at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Monday.

The mentor axed the star of three-time UAAP champion Ateneo together with teammate Ish Polvorosa and Cignal players Peter Torres, Mark Alfafara, Bonjomar Castel, Herschel Ramos, Erikson Ramos, Lorenzo Capate and Anjo Pertierra of Mapua for not attending the match that served as a fund-raising event for the benefit of then national team’s training in Japan and Korea in July.

Acaylar also used the event as a gauge to choose the composition of the national squad that will see action in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 19-30.

“Tapos na ‘yung patience ko sa kanila,” said Acaylar after the exhibition match won by the John Vic De Guzman-led Team Rajah-Blue, 25-27, 25-23, 25-19, 18-25, 15-9, against Team Lakan-Red. 

“During our practice sometimes hindi sila nage-ensayo. I understand dahil marami silang liga,” he said. “Inintindi ko lahat ‘yun but this is the most important, na maibigay nila ‘yung best nila. So, that's it. Ibig sabihin hindi talaga sila naka-commit for the country, so bakit hihintayin pa natin sila?”

Espejo, Polvorosa and Peter Torres all played for the national team in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore. The Ateneo duo failed to join the event because of a prior commitment, Cignal had a training session while Pertierra joined Mapua in Baguio for the Intercollegiate League.  

Aside from De Guzman the other players who participated in the event were Ranran Abdilla, Dave Cabaron, Greg Dolor, Esmail Kasim, Relan Taneo, Jason Uy, Manuel Doliente, Mark Deximo, Jack Kalingking, Reyson Fuentes and Kheeno Franco suited up for Pilipinas Rajah, while Pilipinas Lakan had Bryan Bagunas, Edward Camposano, John Carascal, Eddiemar Kasim, Alfred Valbuena, Louwie Chavez, Peter Quiel, Rey Taneo, Kenneth Sarcena, Geuel Asia, JC David, and Jeffrey Malabanan.

“Marami namang potential na nakita natin ngayon. For example, Bagunas hindi siya um-attend dahil sa UAAP. Now, nung tinawag ko si Bagunas, um-attend siya,” said Acaylar. “The other one is from UP (Alfred Valbuena), the other one is from Army. Kumbaga, they are willing to give themselves for the country. Yan ang mga hinahanap kong players ngayon.”

Acaylar is expected to announce the Final 18-man national team roster after a week.

After the national team’s rigorous foreign training and buildup, Acaylar will announce the Final 12.

“During our training sa Korea and Japan, 18 players. So they are going to fight for the slots. Then back to the Philippines, magiging 12 na sila,” he said.





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