DUE to pressure from the international community, stakeholders in Philippine volleyball finally got its act together and held an election to form a new group, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation.
The group is expected to be recognized when the FIVB—the world body for volleyball—meets this weekend, bringing the Philippines back to the international fold.
Which reminds me of another world body that kicked out the Philippines for essentially the same thing, the failure to form a new national sports association.
Last year, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) told the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) that unless it holds an election that will include regional representation, it would be suspended.
Guess what, we are still suspended because Philta won’t hold an election. Well, actually, the president has said it is willing to hold an election and can stage it in a flash but he wants to exclude the United Tennis Philippines (UTP).
Meanwhile, in the international stage, Alex Eala is gaining prominence after winning her first pro title and is starting to crack the top 1,000. Even Rafael Nadal, whose academy trains the Pinay, has been generous in his praises. That pretty much shows that if given the right opportunity, a talented young Pinay will excel.
But in the next two years, or even after sports in general resume after the Covid-19 pandemic, we won’t be finding any Alex Ealas. Why? Because of the Philta standoff.
Sure, the UTP has basically taken over Philta’s responsibilities pre-Covid, holding numerous age group tournaments all over the country. And even before the UTP was formed, Philippine tennis relied on the same groups as events like the Cebuana Lhuillier and Palawan Pawnshop age group tennis tournaments brought competitive tennis outside of Manila.
Bring the sport outside Manila. That’s basically what the ITF wants Philta to do. The message to call for an election by the ITF was harsh, telling Philta that its exclusive membership setup doesn’t give it the right to call itself a national sport association.
But so far, the message is being ignored.
While Philippine volleyball is on the road to recovery, Philippine tennis isn’t because unity is a game some officials can’t play.
Thank God for Alex Eala. Her exploits mean that at least for now, we’ll hear something good about Philippine tennis.