PH women's volleyball team face 'tall' order vs Vietnam

SINGAPORE – Philippine women’s volleyball coach Roger Gorayeb is keenly aware he faces tall odds when his charges take on Vietnam on Saturday, June 13, to advance to the semifinals of the 28th Singapore Southeast Asian Games volleyball competition.

“Looking at all angles, we don’t have international exposure, we don’t have long preparations, it’s difficult,” said Gorayeb on Friday, June 12, of the daunting task the squad faces in the 10 am must-win match at OCBC Arena here.

The Vienamese, the silver medalists for the past 7 SEA Games meets, will be parading 4 players who stand over 6 feet: Thi Nga Bui (6-foot-2), Thi Ngoc Hua Nguyen (6-foot-2), Tri Tra Giang Dinh (6-foot-2) and Thi Thanh Thuy Tran (6-foot-3).

Tran and Bui had 13 and 9 point each, respectively, when Vietnam overpowered Malaysia in straight sets, 25-10, 25-10, 25-15, last Wednesday.

Bui and Tran also conspired in 29 points in powering the Vietnamese to a marathon five-set win over Indonesia, 25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 16-25, 15-10, in a match nearly lasting two hours the previous day.

Only the top two teams in groups A and B will advance to the semifinals. Vietnam and remains unbeaten at 2-0 in the round-robin stage, while Indonesia strengthened its hold on second place with a win over the winless Malaysia on Friday.

“The Vietnamese also beat the team (Indonesia) that beat us in our first game,” Gorayeb pointed out. “Best effort lang kami.”  

 (We can only give our best effort).

“Their height and exposure (abroad) place us at a disadvantage,” he added. “When it comes to skills we can be at par with anybody but when it comes to height, this is where they beat us.”

Gorayeb bared that this was not the same team that a Philippine squad faced in an Asian World championship qualifier in Vietnam he mentored two years ago.

“Most of the players they now have here are new,” Gorayeb said. “Even one of the players we played then is now an assistant coach.”

If the Filipinas are to prevail, he added, “then we will have to use our speed, but it will have to depend on our reception. That is the key.

“The desire of the girls to play here is already there. We can only pray and hope that this will be more than enough to beat the Vietnamese.” -