Is height really might?
That was the question raised on social media Tuesday afternoon after the 25-woman pool for the National Women’s Volleyball Team was announced by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc.
Many expected Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles skipper Jia Morado to be part of the pool that will represent the country in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. However, the three setters that were included are Kim Fajardo of the De La Salle University Lady Spikers; two-time PSL champion Rhea Dimaculangan; and converted setter Roselle Baliton of the University of the East Lady Warriors.
National team head coach Francis Vicente is known to put a premium on height.
“Si Baliton, 6-foot-1,” he said about the selection of his main playmaker from UE.
“Because of the height, may advantage na agad ‘yung Pilipinas.”
The selection of Fajardo, five-foot-eight, and Dimaculangan, five-foot-seven, were no-brainers, according to the veteran mentor; the former has won numerous accolades in both the UAAP and the PSL, while the latter helped steer the Foton Tornadoes to two PSL crowns. On the other hand, Morado has won Best Setter in the UAAP as well back in Season 77 and was part of the 2015 SEA Games team.
“Sa world, maganda ang nilaro ni Fajardo,” said Vicente. “Yung pagiging setter niya, mautak. Si Rhea, matagal na. Well-experienced.
“Kapag sinama natin si Jia, ang dami nang setter. May Rhea Dimaculangan ka na, may Kim Fajardo pa na naglaro sa world.”
Looking at the end of first round averages, Morado was the top-ranked setter in the UAAP, averaging 13.32 excellent sets per frame, while Baliton lagged at 7.42 per set. But for Vicente, Baliton, who played as a middle blocker back in UE’s Season 78 campaign, has the potential to be a two-way player that will greatly benefit the National Team in the long run.
“At nakikita niyo naman sa UAAP na pa-angat na ‘yung setter,” Vicente explained. “Nandoon siya sa stage na nagde-develop siya, pero may potential siya.”