‘Best of the best’ of PH volleyball assembled for Asian Games
For the first time in 36 years, the Philippines is sending a volleyball team in the Asian Games — and it’s well aware of the odds it’s going to face.
The Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas has released the final 12 players comprising the national team whose social media following rival even that of the medal contender basketball counterpart Gilas Pilipinas.
“We’re going to participate to get international exposure as part of our training program. Our target is a podium finish in the SEA Games 2019,” said LVPI acting president Peter Cayco. “We will make a gallant stand against the volleyball giants of Asia.”
Included in the 12-woman roster are team captain Aby Marano, Kim Fajardo, Jia Morado, Dawn Macandili, Alyssa Valdez, Kim Kiana Dy, Jaja Santiago, Majoy Baron, Mika Reyes, Dindin Manabat, Cha Cruz-Behag, and Ces Molina.
Denden Lazaro and Rhea Dimaculangan are reserve players who will still fly to Jakarta along with the team.
Cayco made the announcement along with national head coach Shaq delos Santos amid criticism that the Philippines stands no chance against superpowers China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
“These are the best of the best of Philippine volleyball, and we at LVPI believe that they can get even better, enough for us to get back to the world stage,” added Cayco. “But we can’t do it by having them just play against each other in the local league. They need to go out and measure themselves against our neighbors.”
Asian Games women’s volleyball has been ruled by China from 1998 to 2010, until South Korea took it back in Incheon in 2014.
The past five Asiads, podium finishes have been occupied by the Big Four plus Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei.
The Philippines’ last Asiad appearance was in the 1982 India edition where the Filipinas wound up fifth. Since then the country didn’t send team to the quadrennial Games.