Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Men’s volleyball in the Philippines has been, undeniably, rising these days; this rise also saw a major spike after the Philippine Men’s National Volleyball Team bagged a silver medal in the 2019 SEA Games.
Former FEU warrior dubbed as the “golden hands” Jessie Lopez, has been so proud and ecstatic that he was a part of the national team that brought about the rise of men’s volleyball in the Philippines.
After his successful volleyball stint as a player, he went down a different path and prospered into becoming a coach for several different teams. When the SEA Games were in talks, he was initially given a choice; he got to choose did he want to be part of the coaching staff or be part of the team as a player instead.
Although he had initial doubts about being a part of the team, he then took on the challenge to play again and conditioned his mind and body for almost 2 years for the competition.
From 100 players who tried out, the team was cut down to 16. The question was, while the position of setter was one of the most needed for the team, was he going to be able to make the cut even though he was the smallest possible?
The 2019 SEA Games was held in the Philippines. Lopez believed this was a huge advantage for the team and a means to help them reach the podium.
“Sobrang laki nung epekto nung naglaro kami dito sa homecourt mo, kasi ang nakatulong talaga samin is fans,” he said in the 17th episode of Hang Time. (Playing in your homecourt has a big effect since the fans are really the ones who helped us.)
“Nakakadagdag pressure siya sa kalaban kasi every time dumidikit, mas na-ppressure sila,” he added. (It adds pressure to your opponent because every time the score closes, they feel more pressured with the cheers)
Being a part of the movement towards the rise of men’s volleyball in the Philippines has been an honor for Lopez as he always had a clear and positive vision for the love of the country and volleyball in general.
“Tulong namin yun sa men’s volleyball, sa future ng mga bata,” he said. (That’s our help for the men’s volleyball of the next generation)
Truly, Jessie Lopez has witnessed how the sport has grown in the Philippines. As compared to his time as a player when there was only one head coach, one assistant coach, and one trainer for the team, the team now has a significantly larger coaching staff, more conditioning coaches, and more physical therapists.
Currently, Lopez is playing for the Air Force and is serving the squad and country as well as completing his soldier duties
Listen to the entire interview of Jessie Lopez (Episode 17 of The Hang Time Podcast) with one of the links below. Thank you and enjoy!
This piece was written by Carla Molina, a common contributor for Globally Ballin check out the link below to see all the articles by Carla Molina that revisit past episodes of the network in bring the story of the guests to article form as well.