PH spikers hope to prove worthy of Asian Games spot
JAKARTA, Indonesia – For the first time in 36 years, the Philippine women’s volleyball team will see action in the Asian Games. And the Filipina spikers hope to prove they deserve the spot.
“Our players were not born yet the last time we played in the Asian Games. So making it here is already a major achievement for Philippine volleyball,” said Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) president Peter Cayco.
The players, of course, aren't satisfied with just a mere stint as they vie to secure at least a quarterfinal berth.
That's why they've decided to skip the opening ceremonies on Saturday night, August 18, to focus on their preparation for a blockbuster match against regional rival Thailand the next day.
“That’s the consensus of the team,” said Cayco. “We need this training session because the game on Sunday will be very tough. As much as possible, we want to make an impression that we also deserve to be here.”
The Nationals arrived here around noon Friday, August 17, and immediately checked in at the Athletes Village at the Kemayoran area.
After Thailand, the squad will face Japan on Tuesday, Hong Kong on Thursday, and Indonesia on Saturday. (LOOK: 2018 Asian Games PH women’s volleyball schedule)
Skipper Aby Maraño is at the helm together with Jaja Santiago, Alyssa Valdez, Dawn Macandili, Kim Fajardo, Mika Reyes, Cha Cruz, Majoy Baron, Kim Kianna Dy, Jia Morado, Maika Ortiz and the returning Dindin Santiago-Manabat.
“We want to make it to the quarterfinals,” Cayco said of the squad mentored by Shaq Delos Santos. “If we beat Hongkong, we’ll get to the quarterfinals. I also think we can get past Indonesia.”
The last time the Philippines saw action in the Asiad women’s volleyball competition was in 1982.
The Nationals won the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in 1993 and emerged as a perennial podium-finisher together with rivals Thailand and Indonesia.
But after winning the bronze medal in the Manila SEA Games in 2005, darkness hounded the sport as the country failed to send a women’s volleyball squad to the biennial regional tourney.
That spell was broken in 2015 when the LVPI sent a team to the Singapore SEA Games. It was followed by a couple of international tourneys before seeing action in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last year. – Rappler.com