“Our safety is our top priority. Nevertheless, we are grateful for everything,” says the experienced NU Libero Jen Nierva after the Lady Bulldogs were excluded from the PH national team
MANILA, Philippines — Veteran NU libero Jen Nierva is continuing after the sudden removal of the entire Lady Bulldogs from the Philippines women’s volleyball team.
“Our safety is our top priority. Nevertheless, we are grateful for everything,” wrote the reigning UAAP Best Libero on Twitter.
“That won’t stop us from mastering our craft. I know that neither effort nor sacrifice is wasted. Time to work harder and come back stronger,” Nierva added.
The full 12-man Lady Bulldogs roster was set to compete in the Women’s Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup after being included in the final national team roster alongside Akari pro Trisha Genesis and California Precision Sports’ Jelai Gajero.
This NU-laden national team was also set to be a last-minute replacement for COVID-stricken Kobe Shinwa Women’s University at the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference and was poised to play for the league championship.
However, last Sunday, August 7, team management withdrew their title-winning team’s participation in the PVL, which was quickly followed by a controversial response from the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) to remove NU from the national team altogether.
In a statement, federation president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said the Lady Bulldogs may not be able to “commit to perform at their best level given a number of restrictions and conditions.”
The federation has since claimed that some of the “restrictions and conditions” they met amounted to scheduling conflicts.
“I think people can understand what’s going on because the problem is schedules. The PNVF and the coaching staff, (Head) Coach Jorge, want a certain schedule and training to be followed,” said PVL President and PNVF Treasurer Ricky Palou in a mixture of English and Filipino.
“NU, I can understand that, considering they’re students with classes or something. They can’t just agree on a schedule and we couldn’t meet theirs, that’s the problem,” Palou continued.
“The coaching staff and coach Jorge wanted them to go to the PVL because it’s a good set-up and they can see what’s missing in the competition, but apparently NU had a different schedule, probably with classes and all that. We just can’t go together.”
Despite the sudden and widely criticized move by the PNVF, the federation made it clear that the Lady Bulldogs are not prohibited from returning after the AVC Cup.
“As long as they stick to Coach Jorge’s schedule, I don’t think there will be a problem,” Palou said. If this is the schedule he wants, they should stick to it. If they can’t do that, it’s best not to assert yourself because that will only lead to more conflict.”
“That is Coach Jorge’s complaint. He has a program and a schedule to follow and it is not being followed. He’s probably frustrated. He plans the training, but cannot carry it out. That’s really what’s happening,” he added.
For now, the top local team from the PVL Invitationals will be asked to represent the country at the AVC Cup on August 21-29 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
So far, the PLDT High Speed Hitters have confirmed their commitment and the PNVF is awaiting confirmation from the other teams remaining in the tournament. – Rappler.com