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Jerry Yee optimistic in finding next great high school stars in Akari Nationals

One of the most decorated high school coaches in the Philippines in the past couple of decades is spearheading Akari’s efforts to find the next great volleyball talents in the grassroots level. 

Yee, the head honcho of perennial powerhouse Hope Christian High School, has been tapped to be the National Commissioner of the 2018 Akari National High School Volleyball Championships, and boy is he excited about it.

“I wanted to at least have a hand at helping develop grassroots volleyball in the Philippines,” he told Akari Sports. “Majority of focus is being given to the collegiate and club levels. This (high school) is where we should start.”

Yee, who is an FIVB Level III coach, said the country needs to pay attention to the grassroots if the Philippines is serious about being a volleyball powerhouse.

“All our neighbouring countries recognize this and have programs more advanced than what we have.”

Before he dabbled in the UAAP through UP and the club ranks through Sta. Lucia and then Total, Yee was one of the most successful high school coaches in the country, winning the Palarong Pambansa several times and honing a horde of talents who have shone bright in the collegiate and club leagues.

Special to Yee’s heart were his title-winning delegations in the 2008 Palawan, 2010 Tarlac, and 2013 Dumaguete editions.

“In Palawan, I had Jem (Ferrer), (Mel) Gohing, Fille (Cainglet), (Pau) Soriano and Amanda (Villanueva),” he shared. “In Tarlac, we had (Den) Tan, the Cruz twins, (Carol) Cerveza, (Princess) Se, (Djanel) Cheng and (Rica) Enclona.”

But what could be the strongest team Yee had in recent memory was the one he brought to Dumaguete, where they annihilated hosts Central Visayas in the finals.

Current UAAP superstars Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili, and Des Cheng bannered the squad, along with current and former collegiate players Shaya Adorador, Justine Dorog, Ana Gopico, Mae Basarte, Chester Ong and Monica Ortiz.

Cheng was the standout of the tournament and was named MVP, but it was Dorog who pulverized Cherry Rondina and Rica Rivera in the championship round, where NCR won, 25-12, 25-7, 25-1.

Through the Akari Nationals, Yee hopes to find the next high school stars.

And as he sifts through almost 3, 500 student-athletes participating in this year’s wars, the veteran mentor knows what to look for.

“Initially, it’s height and athleticism,” he said. “Sometimes, the smartest or those who have that ‘x-factor’ needed in a certain position. She could be the hardest server or the most agile defender.”

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