The six players from La Salle called up for the national pool are (from left) Jolina dela Cruz, Thea Gagate, Mars Alba, Leila Cruz, Fifi Sharma and Aleiah Malaluan. —UAAP MEDIA.
The unveiling of the 23-member pool for the 2022 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup for Women on Friday triggered optimism that schools and varsity leagues will buy in to the plan's of the sport's national federation to build its program on young collegiate standouts.
"This [list] is my target," said national team coach Jorge Souza de Brito of the list of players unveiled in a press conference on Friday.
UAAP Rookie of the Year-Most Valuable Player winner Mhicaela Belen of National University led the list along with University of Santo Tomas star Eya Laure and Ateneo hotshot Faith Nisperos.
The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF), however, is still awaiting response from several schools for the release of their players and for other proposals critical to the national program.
"We're requesting to have UAAP [schedule its tournament] earlier next year because of [Southeast Asian] Games," PNVF president Ramon "Tats" Suzara said.
PNVF board member Ricky Palou told the Inquirer on Friday that school officials were still in discussion with their coaches regarding their players.
"I've talked to some schools earlier and there were still those that needed to iron out a few issues," Palou said.
La Salle, for instance, is cautious of the health of its players, who lost to the Lady Bulldogs in the recent UAAP women's volleyball finals.
There are six Lady Spikers in the PNVF list: middle blockers Thea Gagate and Fifi Sharma, outside hitters Leiah Malaluan and Jolina dela Cruz, opposite hitter Leila Cruz, and setter Mars Alba.
Also named to the pool were NU's Alyssa Solomon, Jennifer Nierva, Ivy Lacsina, Lams Lamina and Kamille Cal, UST's Imee Hernandez and Bernadett Pepito, Ateneo's Vanie Gandler and AC Miner, University of the Philippines' Alyssa Bertolano, Adamson's Trisha Genesis and Louie Romero and California Academy's Casiey Dongallo and Jelaica Gajero.
"Our target is making … the national team [strong]," said de Brito.
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