AVC fully behind Philippine volleyball
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - December 17, 2015 - 9:00am

BANGKOK – Elated and satisfied with the continuing surge and development of the sport in the region, the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) yesterday reiterated its full support to Philippine volleyball.

“I follow the situation in the Philippines and now I’m happy,” said AVC secretary-general Shanrit Wongprasert at the close of a two-day press seminar that drew attendees from 12 countries.

Press people from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Qatar and Kazakhstan joined the seminar conducted by Richard Baker, communications director of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).

The seminar is a brainchild of Ramon Suzara of the Philippines, who recently was re-elected chairman of the AVC marketing and development committee, and also an FIVB board member.

The seminar focused on the importance of media in the development of the sport, and the new era of innovation and opportunity, and the need to boost social media.

Wongprasert is fully aware of the volleyball scenario in the Philippines, and hailed the presence of a first-ever professional club tournament – the Philippine Super Liga (PSL).

There are other major stakeholders in Philippine volleyball, including the Shakey’s V-League and the top collegiate leagues like the UAAP and NCAA.

Wongprasert said these leagues should work hand in hand.

“The AVC fully supports the Philippines. That’s why I’m very worried when something happens,” said the 72-year-old Thai official, aware that in the Philippines, problems with the tournament calendars crop up.

“This is internal. They have to solve it by themselves. They should follow the FIVB and AVC calendars then adjust their calendars,” he said.

“In Thailand, all the leagues support the preparation of the national team. That’s the system,” added Wongprasert, joined at the close of the seminar by Somporn Chaibangyang, president of the Thailand Volleyball Association, and Essa Hamzah, AVC first vice president.

Wongprasert said here in Thailand, it’s the professional league that’s on top of the pyramid, followed by the others all the way down.

He said Thailand has put up six zones for the sport, each one holding tournaments for 12-under, 14-under, 16-under and 18-under the whole year.

“We have tournaments here that are 20 or 30 years old. We spend a lot. We invest a lot. Development needs participation and organization,” said Wongprasert.

The end result, he added, is a strong national team that’s hard to beat in the region.

Wongprasert said the Philippines can follow the pattern. The Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. headed by Jose Romansanta should take the lead, and the PSL the core of the national team.

Then the AVC and the FIVB will provide the support.

“With Ramon Suzara and the new (LVPI) leadership, the Philippines can organize World Championships for under-18 or U-20 very soon,” said Wongprasert.

In September next year, the Philippines will host the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship, a tournament reserved only for players competing in a club tournament.

Suzara is behind the LVPI in putting up the strongest Philippine team possible, but he added that for the likes of Alyssa Valdez to be part of it, she must be a club player.

“You can also request for support for any development program like coaching courses, referees courses or medical and press seminars,” said Wongprasert.

The Thail volleyball figure had seen the days when the Philippines would normally beat Thailand in volleyball.

The shoe is now on the other foot.

“Normally, you beat us before. And it took seven years for Thailand to catch the Philippines,” he said.

It’s not too late to turn things around.

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