Some PH athletes to miss Asian Games opening parade
JAKARTA—A huge chunk of the 272-strong Philippine delegation arrived in this version of Asia’s Big Apple on Friday, but some athletes will be missing what many consider to be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join the parade of athletes that will open the 18th Asian Games Saturday night.
It’s duty to country first, before anything else.
The women’s volleyball team, back in the Games for the first time in 36 years, will forego its chance to march in front of close to 100,000 fans at Bung Karno Stadium here as it needs to buckle down to serious work with a match with bitter Southeast Asian region rival Thailand up on Sunday.
“We need this practice because our game on Sunday will be very tough,” said Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas president Peter Cayco. “We also want to make a point that we belong here.”
The wushu team will also do the same and will instead focus on getting its athletes in their sharpest form yet for their competition that also starts Sunday.
“Our athletes will have to make their weight limits on Saturday, so some of them will be very hungry on that day,” said national sparring coach Jessie Aligaga in Filipino. “They will all be very tired after the weigh-in and training (on Saturday).”
The Philippines being able to send a volleyball team here reaffirms the new-found popularity of the sport back home and the development of some of its players that are now international level in status.
“Our players weren’t even born the last time we played in the Asian Games,” Cayco said before the team left home. “So making it here is already a major achievement.”
Team Philippines is bracketed together with Indonesia and Hong Kong in the Group play phase and the Filipinos would need to win at least one to make it to the quarterfinals, which Cayco said is the ultimate goal.
An upset of the Thais would assure Team Philippines of a spot in the next round, but if that doesn’t happen, the Filipinos would need to split their last two games.
“I think we can handle Indonesia,” Cayco said.
Aby Marano skippers the volleyball squad that also has Jaja Santiago, Dawn Macandili, Kim Fajardo, Mika Reyes, Cha Cruz, Majoy Baron, Kianna Dy, Julia Morado, Maika Ortiz, Dindin Manabat and the enigmatic Alyssa Valdez.
Shaq Delos Santos is the coach.
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