By Jerome Lagunzad
Back in the spotlight as the Philippine national women’s volleyball team head coach, multi-titled La Salle tactician Ramil De Jesus already has a clear idea on how daunting the task at hand is.
But the 10-time UAAP champion mentor is not one to get rattled.
In fact, he is confident that he can get the job done as long as he gets enough support from all players and local volleyball stakeholders.
“Yung big responsibility nakapasan ngayon sa shoulders ko. Hindi naman madaling trabaho ‘to, pero kailangan natin ayusin ang national team. Kailangan natin ng unity para maayos ‘to,” De Jesus said at the end of the first-ever tryout for national team hopefuls on Friday night at the Arellano gym in Legarda, Manila.
Out of the 34 invitees, only 18 showed up for the training session that lasted for two hours, bannered by former Ateneo superstar Alyssa Valdez and a bevy of current and former La Salle stars like Dawn Macandili, Majoy Baron, Kim Dy, Ara Galang, Kim Fajardo, Cha Cruz-Behag, Aby Maraño and Melissa Gohing.
Also in attendance were collegiate stars Jaja Santiago (National University), Sisi Rondina (University of Santo Tomas) and Mylene Paat (Adamson) along with Foton’s Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Maika Ortiz and CJ Rosario, Sta. Lucia’s MJ Phillips and Rebecca Rivera and Creamline’s Jia Morado.
“Nakakatuwa naman na nagpakita ng interest ‘yung mga naglaro sa SEA Games last year,” said De Jesus. “‘Yung iba naman na gusto kong makita, nakita ko naman today. Pero ‘yung iba naman nagsabi na na may (prior) commitments na sila ngayong araw.”
De Jesus admitted that he personally invited those whom he felt could be an asset to the national team, which is gearing up for the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia this August and the AVC Cup in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand the following month.
But that doesn’t mean that De Jesus has already formed a 25-strong unit for the national team training pool.
“Magkakaroon pa ng another tryout for next week (on Wednesday) para sa mga hindi nakapunta. Open tryout naman na. Baka mayroon rin akong na-overlook. Sana wag magtampo at magpunta na next time,” he said.