With what seemed like another major blunder, the local volleyball community took over online to demand genuine change for the betterment of the ever-struggling national women’s volleyball team.
Reports earlier today confirmed that national team mainstay Jaja Santiago withdrew from the squad due to schedule conflict between the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and the Japanese V.Premiere League.
Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) president Joey Romasanta said Santiago’s club team, Saitama Ageo Medics, didn’t release her clearance to play for the national team in the upcoming regional tournament, which coincides with the Japanese league.
Santiago’s absence will prove detrimental to the squad’s cause, given her strong contributions in past bouts including the 2017 Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and the 2018 Asian Games.
Her non-inclusion didn’t sit well with fans, who criticized LVPI and its handling of the women’s volleyball program.
I remember when jaja said "Gagamitin ko ung experience ko sa int'l leagues for our country" (non verbatim)
And then now, Jaja is willing to play, Japan is willing to let jaja play! BUT LVPI is calling it unfair https://t.co/4xNEmNZH0G
— Jaja Adkins (@Daydreamer_jha) September 3, 2019
No, LVPI. Santiago has proven her worth in the National Team years ago. She was part of the U-23 and a regular player to the AVC and SEAG the past years.
The former NU standout is now playing in Japan AGAIN. JAPAN!!! An olympic qualifier. Do you think a slot for her is unfair? https://t.co/4YM74UKifs
— R U E (@thatguynamedyo) September 3, 2019
With the current crisis surrounding the national team, LVPI has been receiving most of the heat from volleyball supporters, given its role as the national governing body for the sport.
But this isn’t the institution’s first slip-up this year.
Back in February, LVPI decided not to send delegations for this year’s AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship, the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship, and the AVC Asian U23 Women’s Championship. The institution reasoned that it wanted to keep the national team away from being scouted by their regional opponents.
The never-ending slip-ups concerning the national team has reached a boiling point as fans and players alike took to Twitter and trended #SavePhilippineVolleyball again, reiterating their call for long-term development and genuine institutional change.
As if the team has been training consistently for quite a time already that Jaja's 1 week inclusion will mess up their system.
2 mos left and with yet a full training, you really think that there will be a decent system that would be developed that she will mess with? Lol 😹
— AJ M. Pareja (@ajmpareja) September 3, 2019
Goosebumps!!!! #SavePhilippineVolleyball trending nationwide. I really appreciate how fans are now educated and aware of what's really happening. Bullshit na LVPI yan! Puro pera pera na lang.
— #SavePhilippineVolleyball (@VolleyBasher) September 3, 2019
Imagine having them in one team as your core members.
Trained and played overseas. Yung hindi 1 month lang? Reagrdless kung dinudurog man sila ng powerhouse teams sa labas ng bansa.
— I am Inevitable (@IamInevitable3) September 3, 2019
— Gretchen Ho (@gretchenho) September 3, 2019
#SavePhilippineVolleyball 😪 We have talented players but apparently, this system is just so f—-d up that they can't be utilized and maximized. Let's not put it to waste. 🇵🇭 BAAAANGOON
— 𝘑𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘦 🐯🌻 (@TheHungryRND) September 3, 2019
FOX Sports PH has reached out to Santiago for a statement regarding the issue.