NATIONAL TEAM coaches Sergio Veloso (men’s) and Jorge de Brito (women’s) in attendance along with players Sisi Rondina, Vanie Gandler, Dawn Macandili-Catindig, Jia Morado-De Guzman and Eya Laure, with the men’s team led by Marck Espejo, Jau Umandal, JP Bugaoan, Lloyd Josafat and Noel Kampton. — CIGNAL

FROM kings and queens of the local volleyball scene to the “aces” of the international stage.

In a historic move, the country will now carry “Alas Pilipinas” as its newest monicker for both men’s and women’s national volleyball teams as announced by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) and partner Cignal.

“We are all Alas Pilipinas. This historic event marks an excellent brand image for Philippine volleyball,” said PNVF President Ramon “Tats” Suzara, joined by Cignal and MediaQuest CEO and President Jane Basas in the unveiling ceremony on Wednesday at the Cignal Executive Center in Mandaluyong.

“For our players who have been working hard for the last two years when the PNVF was born. Alas Pilipinas is the new Philippine volleyball teams.”

The Filipino spikers will debut its new name as early as next week when the country hosts the AVC Challenge Cup for Women as the PNVF also unveiled its official roster, made up of PVL and UAAP stars.

PVL stars Sisi Rondina (Choco Mucho), Eya Laure (Chery Tiggo) and Vanie Gandler (Cignal) along with UAAP aces Angel Canino (De La Salle University), Casiey Dongallo (University of the East) and newly-crowned MVP Bella Belen (National University) headline the cast for the international stint on May 22-29 at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Jia Morado-De Guzman (Creamline), Dawn Macandili-Catindig (Cignal), Thea Gagate (La Salle), Faith Nisperos (Akari), Fifi Sharma (Akari), Chery Nunag (Choco Mucho), Dell Palomata (PLDT), Jen Nierva (Chery Tiggo) and Julia Coronel (La Salle) are also in fray as the PNVF still awaits the end date of the UAAP finals for Belen and Alyssa Solomon of NU as well as University of Santo Tomas players.

But the Philippines, to be led by Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, will have Alas Pilipinas in the biggest stage next year when it stages the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championships 2025 for the first time ever.

PNVF’s monicker announcement came at a perfect time when the Philippine volleyball scene has been making waves with mammoth gate attendances one after another, whether it’s in the pro and collegiate ranks.

More than 23,000 fans witnessed the Game 2 of the PVL finals between champion Creamline and Choco Mucho while NU and Santo Tomas drew more than 19,000 fans for Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 women’s finals.

That’s on top of an equally top-billed clash of La Salle and UST in the UAAP Final Four.

“As we know, volleyball is on the rise in a way that has never been seen before. With Alas Pilipinas, this is chance for us to show the world what Philippine volleyball is all about,” said Ms. Basas, also joined by PNVF Secretary General Don Caringal, Vice President Ricky Palou and National Team Commission head Tony Boy Liao.

National team coaches Sergio Veloso (men’s) and Jorge de Brito (women’s) were also in attendance along with Rondina, Gandler, Macandili-Catindig, Morado-De Guzman and Laure with the men’s team led by Espejo, Jau Umandal, JP Bugaoan, Lloyd Josafat and Noel Kampton. — John Brayn Ulanday