By Betheena Unite
Commitment and exposure remain the most crucial factors in forming a top caliber national team that can go up against international counterparts in sports events like the Southeast Asian Games.
Coach Shaq Delos Santos, who mentors the Philippine women’s volleyball team, believes that commitment and international exposure have been lacking for the women’s national team after they fell short in their goal for a podium finish in the SEA Games.
“Una yung commitment ng lahat, oo sabihin natin, naglaro ng Asian Games, right after ng Asian Games, anong nangyari? Una, hindi namin sila kontrolado kasi siyempre kanya kanyang club ‘yan, yun nire-respect namin,” Delos Santos said after losing to Indonesia in five sets in the battle for bronze.
The former national team member pointed out that he could not just ask players to suit up for the national team considering that they also belong to club teams.
“Walang ganyan so kung paano lang siya i-weigh para mag-meet. Yun ang isang pinakamabigat para sa’min, ako hangga’t maari dapat laging buo yung team even nga yung club, e kailangan laging buo ‘yan,” he said.
“Kung sino yung nandiyan, ilalaban namin,” he added, stressing that sustained international experiences for the national team can pave the way for them to finally earn a podium finish in regional meets.
But he was quick to argue that “it’s easier said than done.”
“Hindi siya ganung kadaling gawin dahil sa schedule din ng tournament. Mahirap para sa players, mahirap din para sa amin na buuin yung team. Kaya sinasabi ko na kulang kasi bungi-bungi siya,” the volleyball tactician said.
He also cited other teams in the region like the Indonesia who had been fielding in same faces in their international appearances.
“Ako, to be honest, hindi siya ganun kadali. Lahat ng adjustment namin, lahat ng way para maayos, maging maganda ‘to, pero hindi siya madaling gawin kasi magkaka-conflict,” Delos Santos said, noting that calendars of tournaments in the country and international meets are not in sync.
“Hopefully, mangyari na laging may buo na national team. Hopefully, maayos lahat ng calendar, maging united na lahat. We don’t know kung sino yung next or what pero siympre ako yun lang maging committed lang lahat ng players,” he added.
Despite the loss and a winless stint in the biennial meet, the national team mentor believes they had given their all and fought till the end.
“Ginawa ko naman 100 percent kaya wala akong dapat pagsisihan kung ano man yung naging result kasi alam ko sa sarili ko na ginawa ko yung best ko. Hindi man umayon para sa amin, ganun talaga. Yung mga susunod na puwedeng mag-handle, siyempre suporta kami kasi lahat naman to ginagawa para sa bansa,” Delos Santos said.
“Ako proud ako sa team namin kasi alam naman nila kung ano yung mga pinagdaanan namin. Kaming mga coaches lagi kaming nag-uusap na sobrang laban lang, laban tayo. Yun lang yung kinaya pero thankful pa rin kami sa experience na ‘to.”