Fil-Am Team USA manager happy for volleyball’s growth in Philippines

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Fil-Am Team USA manager happy for volleyball�s growth in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Everything has come full circle for Filipino-American team manager David Dantes of Team USA, as he returned to his home country of the Philippines for volleyball in the recently concluded Manila leg of the 2024 Volleyball Nations League last week.

After being away from the Philippines for a decade, Dantes flew with fan favorites Team USA for the weeklong tournament. Bearing witness to the country’s love for volleyball, he reflected on his return to Manila.

“[It’s] my first time back [in Manila] for like, 10 years. So it’s really great to be back. You know, my parents are from here and I think the guys right now are having a wonderful experience,” he said, referring to Team USA players. 

“I think that’s been the best part. [For] most of our team, it’s their first time here and we love it. They love the fans, they love the passion, [I] couldn’t be happier,” he added.

Dantes has had a long history with the men’s indoor team, having been a technical staff member for the squad in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He’s also the Independent Contract Performance Analyst of the men’s sitting team.

Now with a new role, Dantes gets a share of the love from the Filipinos in the stands. Born in California to Filipino parents from Quezon City, he connected with his motherland through the sport that he loves.

“That excites me a lot because I love volleyball obviously, and it’s really cool to see that you know, where I’m from, where my parents are from, love it as passionately [as me],” Dantes continued. 

“I mean, obviously, almost makes me want to come back and see the sport grow even more. I mean, it’s so cool to see the Philippines growing in the professional sport really quickly, which is great.”

Dantes wears many hats, including being the director of volleyball operations at NCAA Division 1 school University of Georgia. As luck would have it, one of his athletes will be continuing her career in the Philippines with the Premier Volleyball League.

Though unfamiliar with the pro scene in the Philippines, Dantes vowed to follow the league beginning this upcoming Reinforced Conference as he supports his player.

“I don’t [follow the league], but I will now. Because one of my athletes in [University of] Georgia just started for Creamline last week. Her name’s Erica Staunton, so I will be watching it now because she’ll play,” he said.

As for what advice he has to offer Philippine volleyball, Dantes made it simple and sweet on how the country can continue to grow the sport and push forward in the international scene.

“Just play as much as possible, you know? I think it all starts at the grassroots level. Just provide as many opportunities as you can and let the kids, let the youth play as much as they can.”

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