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MANILA, Philippines – As the country was tapped to roll out the red carpet for the 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship next month, the Philippine national volleyball team will use the tourney as final build up for its 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games campaign.
The Asian Seniors will be held at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex and Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna, from August 9 to 17, just a few days before the biennial SEA Games kick off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“This is in preparation for their stint in the Southeast Asian Games,” said Peter Cayco, Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Incorporated acting president, of the Asian Championships on Friday, June 30, at the ELJ Center in Quezon City.
“It’s gonna be a tough two months ahead,” Cayco added.
A total of 14 nations will fly in to compete for the 8-day tournament, with the Philippines landing in Pool A alongside Kazakhstan and Hong Kong.
Rio Olympics titlist China is in Pool B with Japan and Australia, while South Korea, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand will battle it out in Pool C.
Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Iran, and Maldives round up Pool D.
The Philippines will face Hong Kong in the August 9 opener, followed by Kazakhstan on August 11 in Biñan.
The national squad, headed by coach Francis Vicente, is hoping for a better finish over its 12th place finish in the contest’s 2015 edition in China.
Ahead of a busy August, Vicente took note of the team’s areas of improvement – finding team chemistry and having efficient floor defense.
“Sa condition, wala namang problema kasi ‘yung mga bawat club teams naman nag-e-ensayo sila,” said Vicente. “Ang ano [problema] lang natin dito ay kailangan mag-gel sila.”
(There are no problems when it comes to conditioning because they train with their respective club teams. The only thing we need to work on is their gelling.)
Vicente also hopes that the team’s upcoming training in Japan will help improve their floor defense.
“Nakikita ko ang kulang ng team is ‘yung speed, [and] ‘yung floor defense natin, which is ‘yung sa Japan, sobrang magaling sa floor defense.”
(From what I can see, the team needs to work on speed and floor defense – something the Japanese teams are really good at.)
The national team will be bannered by skipper Mika Reyes and former SEA Games flag bearer Alyssa Valdez, together with veterans Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Ces Molina, Maika Ortiz, and Rhea Dimaculangan.
UAAP standouts Aby Marano, Denden Lazaro, Gen Casugod, Kim Fajardo, and Jaja Santiago will also don the Philippine colors in the international stage, while De La Salle University Lady Spikers Kim Kianna Dy and Dawn Macandili are also part of the pool as reserves. – Rappler.com