Philippines raring to test Korea
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand—For somebody who’s bearing the brunt of enemy fires, Denden Lazaro knows a thing or two about handling pressure.
And how much the Philippines needs to step up when it takes on South Korea on Friday in the playoffs of the Asian Volleyball Confederation Asian Cup here.
“I hope we gained it after Kazakhstan win, the killer instinct and ability to close out a match,” said the Philippines’ main libero. “That’s what we want to have especially in the crucial match against Korea.”
Head coach Shaq delos Santos conducted a short practice Thursday where they also studied videos of the Koreans’ matches.
“It’s not the Korea we should be scared of,” said Delos Santos. “We just [have to] play our game according to the plan and try not to get intimidated by anybody.”
Korea made the quarterfinals but bowed to Chinese Taipei Wednesday.
“They know how to play [to] their strength during the matches and even with the tournament format,” added Delos Santos of the Taiwanese, who are now in the semifinals.
A win over Korea will give the Philippines a shot at fifth place while a loss would drop the country to the battle for ninth.
“This is a very imporant game for us,” said Lazaro. “Korea is a very strong team. We can’t get intimidated by them. And we get a huge chance of making fifth place.”
Lazaro, who plays for Cocolife in the Philippine Superliga, said they have developed as a team after a 1-2 finish in the preliminaries.
“We see that everybody’s willing to adjust to each other and adjust to the system of the coaching staff,” Lazaro added.