Jaja Santiago leads PH volleyball team tryouts with limited turnout

Jaja Santiago leads PH volleyball team tryouts with limited turnout

MANILA, Philippines—There was limited turnout for the Philippine National Volleyball Federation after only 16 of the invited 40 players showed up at Subic Gym for the women’s team tryouts.

Leading the tryouts was 6-foot-5 middle blocker Jaja Santiago, who recently helped the Saitama Ageo Medics to the

National team veterans Aby Maraño, Mary Joy Baron, and Mylene Paat also showed up at Subic Gym for the tryouts that will determine the composition of the team for the 2021 Southeast Asian Games.

Joining them were Eya Laure, Iris Tolenada, Ria Meneses, Dell Palomata, Kamille Cal, Mhicaela Belen, Ivy Lacsina, Alyssa Solomon, Jennifer Nierva, Faith Nisperos, Imee Hernandez and Bernadette Pepito.

Santiago, Laure, and Paat—who are teammates at Cherry Tiggo—even wore red personal protective equipment during the drills.

Holding tryouts in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic required the PNVF to get approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases with Dr. Raul Canlas, the head of the PNVF and Philippine Olympic Committee medical commission, setting up the health and safety protocols.

“The federation puts the health and safety of the participants in equal footing with our goal of forming the national teams as soon as possible,” said PNVF President Ramon “Tats” Suzara.

Suzara added that the national team could see action in the Asian Women’s Championships in August only if the Asian Volleyball Confederation awards hosting duties to the Philippines.

Sta. Lucia’s MJ Phillips was supposed to join the tryouts but she was forced into quarantine after a member of her club’s staff tested positive for COVID-19.

Men’s and beach volleyball teams will have their tryouts on Thursday and Friday, respectively.