Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) elects officers

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The newly-assembled Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) yesterday unveiled its new set of officers, formally bundling out the troubled Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) as the country’s national association in volleyball.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) first vice-president Joey Romasanta clinched the presidency while former Misamis Oriental congressman Victorico Chavez was named as chairman following an election that put an end to several weeks of speculations about bthe LVPI’s future.

Romasanta, in fact, flew yesterday morning for Bangkok to report the latest development to Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) executive vice-presidents Shanrit Wongprasert and Cai Yi as well as ranking executives of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).

A highly-reliable source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Romasanta is expected to be warmly welcomed by Wongprasert and Cai into the AVC family aware of the difficulties he went through in forming the LVPI that has the involvement of all major stakeholders.

Aside from parrying criticisms from some quarters within the old PVF, Romasanta was also stripped of his position by no less than POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, who strongly lobbied for the inclusion of Chavez, the former Philippine Volleyball Association (Pava) president and Cojuangco’s old pal in the post-Marcos House of Representatives.

Chavez also wanted to insert his protege, former PVF secretary-general Rustico Camangian, into the new federation while preventing Philippine Superliga president Ramon “Tats” Suzara from assuming any position, which major the stakeholders protested against.

But in the end, Cojuangco and Romasanta agreed to put aside personal politics, leading to the formation of the new volleyball federation.

Also elected were Peter Cayco of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as vice-president, Ricky Palou of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and Shakey’s V-League as secretary-general, Ariel Paredes of the Philippine Superliga as treasurer and Jeffrey Tamayo of NCAA as director.

“Everything ended well,” said the source, who was privy to the details. “Everybody came to terms and nobody contested the outcome. This could be the start of unity in the sport.”

The source said that after getting recognition from the AVC, FIVB and POC, the LVPI will hit the ground running and will sit down with national coaches Sammy Acaylar and Roger Gorayeb to finalize the formation of the teams that will see action in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore and the Asian U23 Women’s Championship in Manila.

Acaylar said they already have a shortlist of candidates, but they can’t reveal their names yet since most of them are still competing in the UAAP, which is already entering its crucial stages.

Sources, however, say that Alyssa Valdez and Denise Lazaro of Ateneo de Manila, Jaja and Dindin Santiago of National University and Ara Galang and Mika Reyes of De La Salle University are seriously being considered to be part of the young team that will compete up to the 2017 Southeast Asian (Sea) Games in Malaysia.

“We can’t reveal their names yet as some of them are still in the thick of battle in the UAAP,” Acaylar said. “But rest assured that we will do our best to come up with a team in the Sea Games. We will do our best to explain to the players that this is not a commercial tournament — the pride and the name of our country are at stake.”

Acaylar and Gorayeb have until this month to come up with a roster since the deadline for the submission of final lineup in the Sea Games is on April 1.

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