With travel plans foiled, PH team mainstays serve at front lines

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The Philippine men’s team celebrates a semifinal victory over Thailand in the SEA Games. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

They were preparing for a tournament when new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) struck. Now half of the national men’s volleyball team are fighting back from the front lines.

Led by head coach Dante Alinsunurin, six members of the Philippine squad are enlisted military personnel now serving the government during the pandemic, performing varied tasks.

Joining him are players Jessie Lopez, Alnakran Abdilla, Jeffrey Malabanan, Joeven dela Vega and Jack Kalingking.

Except for Dela Vega and Kalingking, who are with the Philippine Navy, all enlisted Air Force men. They are currently posted at Villamor Air Base and Bonifacio Naval Station.

“The team is intact because they were supposed to compete in Thailand,” said Larong Volleyball Sa Pilipinas vice president Peter Cayco.

The team was supposed to compete in the Asian men’s club championships in Thailand in June.

After breaking a long dry spell in the Southeast Asian Games by winning silver last year, the men’s team has enjoyed boost in popularity and support that used to be monopolized by the women’s team.


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