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Sports

Lady Maroons also hounded by V-League import problems

Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - Last week, when volleyball clubs Bureau of Customs and BaliPure were having problems securing permits for its imports to play, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons empathized for they too encountered similar concerns in securing the services of two Thai players.

Before UP’s match versus league-leading University of Santo Tomas, Lady Maroons team manager Cecile Ronquillo bared the incident that led to UP playing all-Filipino for the Reinforced Conference of the Shakey’s V-League.

“We joined hoping to get imports and for the girls to experience playing in the finals,” divulged Ronquillo. “We were very enthusiastic to achieve that. We asked (Ateneo) coach Tai Bundit for referrals on imports to acquire.”

The names submitted to the SVL were Sirintra Mhoobin from Sripatum University and Paweenut Rueangrum who played for Ulit Paiboon Chanupatham School Volleyball Club.

“We made the right preparations and sent the proper correspondence to Thai volleyball clubs,” added Ronquillo. “We did everything by the numbers and followed the rules. At first the Thai volleyball clubs answered all our correspondence. And then all of a sudden somebody intervened and they stopped answering our emails. I spoke to that person to find out what was the problem. In the process, we also found out that he used to be a Fighting Maroon who played for the volleyball team.”

“He said they (the V-League) don’t know how to run a tournament. They don’t know the procedures and they are not recognized in the Asian volleyball conferences. He spoke to the Secretary-General of Thailand association and informed him that they will not issue the International Transfer Certificates of the imports. So the Thai association said we are a mess here and they will not lend any imports.”

‘This person offered to help me get American imports through an agent he knows. The caveat is I should assure him that this will be our last participation in the V-League and we should join another tournament next year. We decided not to take up his offer. We will not give in to blackmail.

The initial objective of the UP Lady Maroons participation in the V-League changed. Instead of trying to really compete for the championship, it switched to playing the bench and exposing them to good competition in order to get ready for the UAAP.

“Jerry (Yee, UP’s head coach) explained everything to the team so we want them to understand. Is it because we now have a corporate sponsor (United Auctioneers Incorporated) that there is interest in us? We have always been invited to participate here. We just want to play but not get involved in blackmail.”

The team had spent close to Php20,000 on plane tickets for the Thai players only to see it thrown away. "Lesson learned," noted Ronquillo.

On another note, Lady Maroons' team manager also talked about the renewed interest in UP volleyball including from UP Chancellor Michael Tan who as very impressed with the girls. “There are jitters and expectations for the team so we have to make sure that we enforce discipline and keep everyone apprised of policies and developments,” said Ronquillo. “After all, we are very cognizant of our image and why we will do what is right for the team and for volleyball.”

The UP Lady Maroons currently tote a 1-2 record in the SVL with four matches to play in the elimination round. Their next match is against the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors this Saturday, October 15, at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

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