Women’s volleyball coach warns bashers: ‘I know my rights’


The Philippines’ women’s volleyball team at the 29th Southeast Asian Games. Pool photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Philippine women’s national team coach Francis Vicente on Sunday warned his numerous critics to avoid personal attacks as he will not hesitate to take action against those who cross a line.

Vicente has been the subject of scorn ever since he was named head coach of the national team, with fans often questioning his credentials compared with other mentors in the collegiate and club ranks. His every move – from his selection of the roster to his substitution patterns – has been scrutinized and criticized.

His “bashers” were out in full force after the Philippine women’s team lost to Thailand in the semifinals of the 29th Southeast Asian Games on Saturday, after which ace spiker Alyssa Valdez was seen in tears. The former Ateneo de Manila University star’s famously passionate fans were clearly dissatisfied with Vicente’s explanation for Valdez’s reaction, and several others again questioned the team’s rotation and plays.

Vicente, however, was defiant when asked about his critics after the Philippines’ four-set loss to Vietnam that ended their hopes of making it to the podium.

“Hayaan mo sila. Hayaan mo sila,” said Vicente. “Hindi nila alam kung ano ‘yung nangyayari dito eh. Hindi nila alam kung ano ‘yung pinagdadaanan namin lahat eh.”

Yet Vicente also warned that his critics should steer clear of personal attacks.

“Masyadong personal eh,” he said of the feedback that he has received from fans. “Nabasa ko ‘yun.”

“So, hindi ko alam. I’m a son of a lawyer, I know my rights, and I will do my best to observe my rights,” he stressed.

Vicente said that the criticism that he has received has already affected his family.

“‘Yan, kumakalat sa buong mundo. Pag nasira ako, sira din ang pamilya ko. To be honest, galit na galit ang anak ko, galit na galit ang asawa ko. Lahat ng mga kamag-anak ko, gusto sugurin ang tao na ‘yun, kung sino man ang mga ‘yan,” he revealed.

The coach then issued a final warning: “Watch out. ‘Pag ako nag-higanti, iba ako mag-higanti. ‘Yun lang.”

The Philippine women’s volleyball team returns to Manila on Monday afternoon.

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