By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

THE country’s national volleyball team program took further form on Wednesday after the local federation for the sport announced the members of the national pool.

In a virtual press conference, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation, Inc. (PNVF) made known the results of its evaluation of players who took part in the tryouts the association conducted three weeks ago.

Announced were 20 men and 16 women who make up the volleyball pool and the 10 men and 10 women for the beach volleyball program.

In conjunction with the announcement, the PNVF also launched its official website

In coming up with the list of the members in the national pool, the volleyball federation said “skills and potentials stood in equal footing with commitment and attitude in the selection.”

The pools are being geared particularly towards big tournaments later this year, namely, the Asian Seniors Women’s Volleyball Championship here in August, and the Hanoi 31st Southeast Asian Games set for Nov. 21 to Dec. 2.

The pools, the PNVF said, are a mix of veterans and collegiate standouts.

Making up the volleyball men’s pool are setters Jessie Lopez, Kim Dayadante, Ish Polvorosa, and Josh Retamar; outside hitters Mark Alfafara, Marck Espejo, Bryan Bagunas, Jao Umandal, and Nico Almendras; and opposites John Vic de Guzman, Ysay Marasigan, and Joeven dela Vega; and middle blockers Rex Intal, Kim Malabunga, Francis Saura, JP Bugaoan, and Lloyd Josafat; and liberos Jack Kalingking, Ricky Marcos, and Manuel Sumanguid.

For the women’s, they are setters Iris Tolenada and Kamille Cal; outside hitters Faith Nisperos, Ivy Lacsina, and Mhicaela Belen (NU); opposites Mylene Paat, Eya Laure, and Alyssa Solomon (NU); middle blockers Aby Maraño, Majoy Baron, Jaja Santiago, Dell Palomata, Ria Meneses, and Imee Hernandez; and liberos Jennifer Nierva and Bernadette Pepito.

Men’s beach volleyball, meanwhile, has Anthony Arbasto, Jude Garcia, Jaron Requinton, James Buytrago, Philip Bagalay, Ranran Abdilla, Jade Becaldo, Calvin Sarte, James Pecaña, and AJ Pareja.

In the women’s beach volleyball are Sisi Rondina, Bernadeth Pons, Babylove Barbon, Gen Eslapor, Dzi Gervacio, Dij Rodriguez, Mer Jauculan, Jennifer Cosas, Alexa Polidario, and Erjane Magdato.

The PNVF said the lists are still subject to minimal changes, especially in women’s volleyball since the input of incoming Brazilian coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito, who will help train the squad, will be considered. He is due in the country in July.

But the names in the pool were already approved by the PNVF Executive Board and will be forwarded to the Philippine Sports Commission.

“These men and women, may I say, are to become lethal in the next five months or so,” said National Team Commission chairman TonyBoy Liao, who joined the press conference from the US, of the players selected. “The national coaches took their time in determining who deserves to be in the pool.”

The men’s and women’s volleyball teams are to begin training on June 1, said PNVF President Ramon Suzara, while those for beach volleyball will start theirs next week in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

Apart from Messrs. Suzara and Liao, also present in the press conference were PNVF secretary-general Donald Caringal, and coaches Dante Alinsunurin (volleyball men), Odjie Mamon (volleyball women), Paul Jan Doloiras (beach volleyball men) and Rhovyl Verayo (beach volleyball women).