Volleybelles cast focus on SEA Games next year
JAKARTA—Team Philippines has fought the heavyweights in volleyball ever since getting to the 18th Asian Games. But there are powerhouse squads and there is China. World No. 1. Reigning Olympic champion.
While the women’s team has been shooting for the stars each time it took the court, it now faces the prospect of playing its last game here when it battles the favorite Chinese on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. in Manila).
But forging an upset is no longer the goal.
“We’re learning a lot as the tournament wears on,” spiker Alyssa Valdez told the Inquirer recently as this team made up of all-stars tries to milk the most out of a first Asiad appearance for Philippine volleyball in 36 years.
“We are actually here trying to jell more as a team because we have a long-term goal, and that is the Southeast Asian Games,” Valdez said of the tournament the Philippines will host next year. “We are taking the experience here to learn and use for the future.”
The Filipinos wound up their classification round assignments with only a win in four matches, losing to Thailand and Japan in straight sets before sweeping Hong Kong and then bowing to host Indonesia in four.
Abby Maraño, the outspoken team skipper, posted on her Twitter account after the loss to the Indonesians, asking fans for patience during this learning process.
“We are humbled by the challenges that we faced,” Maraño said on her page (@Abymarano). “Wala naman sigurong bansa na gumaling at lumakas ng isang araw lang. Siguradong pinagdaanan din nila noon lahat ng pinagdadaanan namin ngayon. Nagtiis din sila at ilang frustrations din ang nilagpasan. Tiwala lang.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.