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Sports

Suzara eyes repeat of ’93

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Suzara eyes repeat of â93
Ramon (Tats) Suzara.
Jun Mendoza

MANILA, Philippines — PNVF president Ramon (Tats) Suzara said yesterday it will take a lot of hard work to regain the SEA Games gold medal in women’s volleyball but that’s the goal for the Cambodia edition in May next year. He recalled a similar route in 1993 when the Philippines won its last SEA Games title after a lengthy exposure program.

“The late Concoy Chavez was our federation president and I was secretary-general in 1989 when we lost to Myanmar to finish fourth,” said Suzara. “That was a wake-up call. In 1991, we took the bronze and in 1993, got the gold. We hope to do another podium finish next year.” The Philippines placed fourth in the last three SEA Games.

Coach Jorge de Brito said the recent refusal of the national team to play in the PVL Invitationals was a sad development. When Kobe Shinwa backed out of the semifinals, the national team was called in as a late replacement. De Brito said he broached the idea of playing in the PVL to the national players and the initial reaction was positive. Then, NU management disallowed the 12 Lady Bulldogs on the national team to play, leaving the PVL with five semifinalists instead of six.

Suzara said he will discuss with volleyball stakeholders to figure out what to do. “The national team is under PNVF not NU,” he said. “The PVL Invitationals would’ve been a good preparation leading to the AVC Women’s Cup on Aug. 21-29. Citing the possibility of injury is not a reason. There will always be a risk of injury if you’re an athlete. Right after the AVC Cup, there is the Asean Grand Prix in Thailand on Sept. 9-11.  The decision is now for the highest-placed local finisher in the PVL Invitationals to represent the country in the AVC Cup and Asean Grand Prix.”

De Brito said it’s the elders’ role to guide youngsters on the national team. “We’re all on the same boat, the same page,” he said. “For the PVL Invitationals, my plan was to rotate the players every game and it was perfect. Maybe, six to seven players from NU for each game.” Suzara said NU management insisted that the request was to play in the AVC Cup and did not include participating in the PVL. “Everybody loses in this situation,” said De Brito. “Nobody wins.”

Suzara said volleyball faces a similar problem of player availability as SBP. “We couldn’t get UAAP players for the last SEA Games because of a conflict of schedule,” he said. “We hope to sit down with the collegiate leagues so we can synchronize schedules, looking at the next SEA Games in May. Coach Jorge will go around the country looking for promising young talent and our team in the coming SEA Games could be made up of seven veterans and seven young players.”

TATS SUZARA

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