- July 11, 2023 06:09
By Trisha Marie L. Abuyan
Former Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws high-flyers Jude Garcia and JP Bugaoan with veteran setter Jessie Lopez made it to the 2021 men’s volleyball national team list, as announced by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF), May 12.
Garcia banners the men’s beach volleyball team while Bugaoan and Lopez will represent the country in the indoor games.
The tryouts for men’s and women’s volleyball teams were held in a bubble set-up in Subic last April 28-30 with 120 players were invited, some players begged off due to fear of contracting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In an online interview with FEU Advocate, Garcia mentioned that despite the situation, he has no hesitations in grabbing the opportunity to represent the country once again.
“Hindi naman po ako nag-hesitate to tryout pero siyempre andoon talaga ‘yung pag aalala ko na baka isa sa amin magkaroon ng COVID (I did not hesitate to try out but I am still worried that one of us could have been infected of COVID-19),” he stated.
However, playmaker Lopez had his hesitations at first but was convinced when they were assured that the tryouts would be safe under the supervision of Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Disease.
All athletes, coaches, and other officials involved were required to undergo a Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test 48 hours before the tryouts to ensure safety.
Lopez was part of the 2019 silver medallist men’s volleyball team who made a historic run in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, entering the finals after 42 years and according to him, this adds pressure to the 2021 team.
“Get the gold. Pangarap naming ‘yan ng mga coaches and federation (Get the gold. that’s our dream with the coaches and federation),” he shared.
Meanwhile, it is Bugaoan’s first national team experience and he mentioned in his statement from the Cignal HD Spikers Facebook page that he aimed to be part of the national team for a long time now.
On the other hand, Garcia was part of the beach volleyball team in the 2019 SEA Games who took home bronze for the country.
For this year, Jude and the rest of the beach volleyball team are eager to exceed their third-podium performance last 30th SEA games.
“Yung mga pagkukulang namin nung nakaraang SEA games ay correct namin para maging handa kami sa lahat ng laban na darating and sana madami kaming masalihan na international competition para sa exposure din (Our shortcomings last SEA games, we will fix it for us to be prepared in all the upcoming games and hopefully, we can join many international competitions for exposure),” the former FEU power spiker said.
Bugaoan and Garcia last played for the Morayta-based squad in the University Athletic Association (UAAP) season 82 in a five-set win against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers before the league’s cancellation due to COVID-19.
Lopez is currently playing for the Philippine Airforce Spikers and Bugaoan is part of the Cignal HD Spikers. Meanwhile, Garcia is the latest addition to the Creamline beach volleyball program.
The indoor pool will start training in June, gearing up for the 2021 SEA games in Vietnam from November to December, while the beach volleyball team has begun last May 15 to prepare for the Asian Volleyball Confederation Beach Volleyball Continental Cup.
(FROM LEFT: File photos by Andrei Enrico/FEU Advocate and Audrey Vicencio/FEU Advocate)