Cohesive national volleybelles return from Japan
The Philippine national women’s volleyball team, the most sought-after squad these days, has finally developed chemistry after 17 days of training in Japan.
Arriving in the country Wednesday, head coach Francis Vicente said he was impressed with how the players developed camaraderie despite coming from different teams and leagues.
“This is a collection of superstars that is now working as one team,” said Vicente. “This is a good start because they will be playing together for the next three years.”
The Nationals, training particularly to develop speed, blocking and floor coverage that Japanese clubs are known for, also came home with victories in friendlies against Kobe Shinwa, Kansai University and Osaka Superiors.
But more importantly, Vicente said he was delighted to watch superstars Mika Reyes, Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago, Aby Maraño and Jovelyn Gonzaga working seamlessly on plays.
They will see action in the Asian Seniors Championships in Biñan, Laguna, on Aug. 9 to 17, hoping to at least make the quarterfinals which would ensure a spot in the Asian Cup next year.
They will fly to Kuala Lumpur Aug. 18 for the Southeast Asian Games to reboot the country’s campaign in the regional game where the Filipinos used to lord it over.
Reyes said that in Okayama and Osaka, they had managed to forget who they were back home. “We are just one team, no superstars, no big names.”
The players also napped together on the same court they practice drills, helping them know each other very well.
Completing the squad are Kim Fajardo, Aiza Pontillas, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, Denden Lazaro, Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili, Ces Molina and Gen Casugod.