THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) ruled with finality against funding the participation of the women’s volleyball team in the 18th Asian Games set next month in Indonesia.
In a board resolution last week, the government’s funding arm for sports gave the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. the green light to compete in the prestigious quadrennial athletic meet set in Jakarta next month.
But the PSC’s support will only cover the parade and competition uniforms of the 12 players and three coaches as well as provide them with access to medical and training facilities at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and Philsports compound.
With that, the federation has to come up with a significant amount to cover the airfare, accommodation and allowance of the team, which is making a return to the Asian Games after 36 years of absence.
Aside from women’s volleyball, the PSC also turned down funding for nine players seeing action in bridge, a European card game.
LVPI vice president Peter Cayco accepted the PSC’s decision, but stressed his group will make an appeal for the sake of the sport.
“It’s sad that our women’s volleyball team will not be funded by the PSC in the Asian Games,” said Cayco, who was tasked to oversee the national team program.
“But we will try our best to make an appeal. We will humbly knock on their door and hope for the best.”
Based on the guidelines set by former chief of mission Julian Camacho, the volleybelles are not qualified in the Asian Games for failing to win a medal in the previous Southeast Asian Games.
The squad also finished seventh in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship, prompting the PSC to conclude that it has zero chance at winning an Asian Games medal.
After sitting down with Richard Gomez, the new chief of mission, and his deputy Robert Bachmann and Manny Cabili, however, the team was given the go-signal to compete after presenting the LVPI program to culminate with a medal in the SEA Games next year.
Right now, the team wrapped up its participation in the Philippine Superliga and is tipped to leave for training in Japan on Aug. 5 before the Asian Games.
From the Asian Games, a series of friendlies with foreign teams is being worked out before competing in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship in Thailand.
“Asian Games participation is very crucial as far as our two-year program is concerned,” said Cayco, adding that they are now seeking deals with some private sponsors who are willing to fund the team.
“That’s why we told the players that all they have to do is to focus on their training because we — as federation officials — have the responsibility to raise fund. We also told them that they should not worry because we’re definitely going to the Asian Games to make the country proud.”
In a previous statement, PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez said the agency will reimburse expenses of the team if it wins a medal of any color.