Four years ago, the Philippines filed a controversial protest against Indonesia’s April Manganang during the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore.
Manganang’s masculine-like appearance and physique were questioned by the Philippines, who had just made its return to the women’s volleyball tournament of the biennial meet after a 10-year hiatus.
But the request for gender test was denied by the organizers as Manganang was already cleared by the FIVB, the world’s governing body for volleyball, in an earlier tournament.
The Indonesian ace spiker then went on to demolish the Roger Gorayeb-mentored squad in straight-set fashion in their elimination round match-up. Indonesia eventually won bronze while Philippines placed fifth.
A year later, Manganang visited the Philippines when she and Jakarta Electrik-Indonesia competed in the 2016 AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship held here.
Unlike in the 2015 SEA Games, Manganang received admiration and respect from Filipino volleyball fans in her first visit to the country.
But it seemed there would be no second visit for Manganang as she will not be participating in the 2019 SEA Games that the Philippines is hosting from November 30 to December 11.
Manganang’s name is noticeably missing in the official 14-woman team roster of Indonesia that will see action in the 4-team field.
30th SEA Games Volleyball Tournament (women’s lineup)
— Antoine (@anton_FOXPH) December 1, 2019
But while Manganang will not be seeing action, Indonesia remains formidable as it will be bannered by Amalia Fajrina Nabila, Megawati Hangestri Perti and Ratri Wulandari.
Amalia was at the helm of the Indonesian team that dismantled Philippines twice during the 2018 Asian Games.
Megawati and Ratri, meanwhile, led their home country to a back-to-back silver medal finishes in the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix.
Manganang’s absence is still a welcome development for the Philippines who also lost key players in Kalei Mau and the Santiago sisters in its quest to end 14-year medal drought.
Action in the women’s division kicks off tomorrow with Indonesia taking on defending champions Thailand at 3:30 p.m. as Philippines square off with Vietnam at 6 p.m. Both games will be played at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.
(Image from Instagram/April Manganang)