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Philippine men’s volleyball coach puts premium on performance for 2025 worlds

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine men’s national volleyball team coach Sergio Veloso said that performance will be the main factor in building the team roster for the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) men’s world championship next year.

The Philippines will host the world championship from September 12-28 next year, and as host country will get to field a team. 

Veloso said that his focus on building the team is the players’ ability to “show your best.”

“For me, no matter, if you're senior or a beginner, you need to show me your best. Now you can… who's famous, [Bryan] Bagunas, [Marck] Espejo but in the last season [Joshua] Umandal showed me that 'I can play' and after that when Bagunas and Espejo returned, they needed to fight with Umandal for the position. It's good because this is a good fight,” he told reporters.

With this, he also underscored that during the Southeast Asian Games, he fielded a team with teenagers Jade Disquitado, Jay dela Noche and 20-year-old Rwenzmel Taguibolos. 

“This is my proposal. No matter who practiced with me, you need to show me in the practice and confirm in the match. And I put the best in for the national team,” he added. 

The world championship will have a total of 32 teams, with defending champions Italy leading the field. 

“It's not the list, because if it's a list, I give a list for the referee, we can look at the list, so we will win? No. You need to play. It's the same for the players, you need to show me in the practice and confirm it in the match,” Veloso stressed. 

“And I don't care if I need to change [players], it's the national team. It's not a player team,” he added. 

And with the wealth of talent in the Philippines, it is important for a team to work together. 

Veloso also emphasized the Philippines’ need to change to a more “professional” mindset. 

“I saw here in the Philippines a lot of potential, no matter if men’s or women’s, but the mentality here is not so professional. This is important. When I talk… professional, it’s not that I receive money. I can receive money but I’m not professional,” he said. 

“And I talked to the guys here. When I started to work, I thought: ‘Hey, I’m more fit, more