A team whose core includes Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago and Aby Maraño not only screams promise, but also means destruction as they are currently the country’s top hitting volleyball players.
With Kim Fajardo and Jia Morado orchestrating the offense and Dawn Macandili manning the floor, the Philippine national women’s volleyball team looks tough when it march to the Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia.
But still, one couldn’t help but look for the names of Myla Pablo and Ara Galang who are not in the 14-man lineup, especially because the two outside hitters were recently hailed Most Valuable Players in their respective leagues.
With the core players of the team transferring to other squads, Pablo stepped up and took the much-needed leadership role for the newly minted Pocari-Air Force Lady Warriors.
The former NU Lady Bulldogs stalwart was an omnipotent presence on stat sheet and on court in Pocari’s bid to defend their crown.
But in a stunning twist of fate, Pablo sustained a back injury minutes before the do-or-die semifinals match between Pocari and Creamline Cool Smashers kicked off.
The unfortunate injury prevented her from helping her struggling squad, and she could only watch from the sidelines as the Valdez-led Cool Smashers dismantled Pocari to a mere challenger than a two-peat champion.
The Lady Warriors settled for fourth place, and Pablo, with her efforts to bring her squad to greater heights despite playing with new faces, received the MVP accolade.
Galang was no stranger to injury. In fact, that 2015 mishap was arguably the most horrible event to Philippine volleyball as one of its supposed future international campaigner was reduced to agony.
The Pampanga native took time to nurse her torn ACL, MCL, and bone bruise. Three years later, though her pre-injury form is yet to return, Galang still gave outside hitters with healthy pair of knees a run for their money.
The UAAP Season 75 MVP was F2 Logistics’ go-to girl all conference long. During the nail-biting Finals series, Galang led all scorers with a total of 33 hits en route to another MVP plum.
With Ces Molina stepping down from her national team duty due to stress fracture, one would’ve thought that either Pablo or Galang are going to be the replacement for the Petron skipper. Neither of the two was the replacement.
Pablo, who was part of the 20-man pool revealed last June, may be off national duty for a while as she will try to recover from her back injury. Galang, meanwhile, didn’t even make the cut for the pool.
It was a sorry development, knowing how much these outside hitters could contribute to the national team.
Maybe, this wasn’t the time for these newly crowned MVPs to don the tricolors. Maybe, there was an even better opportunity waiting for them in the future.
For now, we could only hope that one day, when Pablo and Galang have fully healed, they will finally be able to spread their wings in the international arena. In the SEA Games 2019, maybe.
Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.