Pride ruining Phl volleyball

All it took was less than a day for the country to lose its national women’s volleyball team.

But the heartbreaking disaster wasn’t because of injury or any deadly disease.

It was because of pride.

Yes, the ego of a ranking volleyball official again reared its ugly head, prompting the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) to hit the reset button by firing 10 players from the national squad with barely few weeks left before competing in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup.

Everything happened on a rainy Sunday when National University (NU) informed the federation that it couldn’t allow its players to serve as substitutes to the Covid-hit Kobe Shinwa Women’s University in the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League (PLV).

The NU management said most of its players are still recuperating from a grueling campaign in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines while preparing for the crucial Asian tourney that the country will host from 21 to 29 August.

In fact, most of them are still trying their best to train despite nursing minor injuries.

But instead of showing compassion like what federations do to their ailing athletes, the PNVF leadership reacted aggressively, acting like a hungry shark that is ready to attack.

In a letter to NU president Renato Carlos Ermita Jr., the PNVF said it is formally “releasing” the Lady Bulldogs from the national squad because they “may not be able to commit to perform at their best level given a number of restrictions and conditions that hinder the continuous conduct of training and overall program.”

Hmm… Sounds sloppy to me.

With the way I see it, the Lady Bulldogs were fired not because they begged off from competing in the PVL, but because they offended and trampled the ego of the PNVF leadership, making it look like a powerless fool in the eyes of the international volleyball community.

Well, it didn’t come as a surprise.

The PNVF chief runs the federation with an iron hand. He styles himself as the supreme authority in Philippine sports who will ruthlessly destroy whoever blocks his way.

At one point, he imposed a “one-league policy” in the Philippine Superliga (PSL), effectively suspending some players whose only fault was to hustle hard so they can put something on the table while playing the game they love.

The PSL eventually booted him out as president and sprinkled it with a dash of criminal charges.

But where is the PSL now? It’s gone.

The Lady Bulldogs are no PSL executives.

These young student-athletes took a chance on the federation during a time when nobody — even the brightest stars who represented the country in the past — wanted to.

They took a leap of faith by boarding a bus for Subic amid the threat of coronavirus — not just to shoot for slots in the national team — but to rally behind the new federation that promised to lead the country back to the medal podium of the Southeast Asian Games.

They put their studies aside and sacrificed their time, effort and energy just to represent the country at the height of the pandemic without asking for anything in return.

And now this: They were sacked from the national team program like helpless puppets who no longer obey their master.

It is not just unfair — it is also cruel and heartless, if not downright evil.

The PNVF has a neat tagline: We serve volleyball.

But is it really serving volleyball?

Or was it just assembled to pamper the ego of its leader and make him look good for the appreciation and acceptance of the boys in the International Volleyball Federation?

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