PH Under-23 tossers face powerhouse China Thursday
More than representing the country, Alyssa Valdez considers the Asian Women’s Under-23 Volleyball Championship as a learning experience for her and the rest of the Philippine team.
And as a duel with reigning world champion China looms, the Filipinos are embracing the challenge notwithstanding the tough odds.
“We see this tournament as a blessing for us and a big learning experience,” said Valdez, after the four-set loss to Chinese-Taipei Tuesday night that sent the Filipinos to the bottom of the bracket and set the stage for an encounter with the powerhouse Chinese at 4 p.m. Thursday.
“Just the opportunity to play against the best teams in Asia will go a long way in improving the team and our volleyball program.”
Japan, which finished third in the inaugural world tournament two years ago, faces the No. 4 team from Pool E in India. The winner will battle the survivor of the Chinese Taipei-South Korea clash.
Thailand and Iran dispute the last semifinal berth at 6 p.m.
Making their return to the international stage after a long hiatus, the Filipinos have won just one of their four outings so far as they struggled to cope with the quality of the opposition. Their inexperience was exposed in losses to Iran, Japan and the Taiwanese side.
Against Chinese Taipei, coach Roger Gorayeb’s wards took the first set but errors once again hounded the Filipinos, who ended up with 35 miscues in a 25-21, 18-25, 12-25, 19-25 loss.
The Chinese, who ruled the inaugural world championship in the division in 2013 in Mexico, rolled to four straight victories to clinch the top spot in Pool F, where they overcame Thailand and South Korea in the second round.
“China is going to be tough to beat and we need to double our efforts to stand a chance,” said Gorayeb. Cedelf P. Tupas
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