NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand—Several members of Team Philippines were hanging around the second floor corridor of the Sima Thani Hotel on Wednesday after dinner.
Kalei Mau, a 6-foot-2 Fil-American open hitter, was telling Jia Morado, Maddie Madayag, Alohi Robins-Hardy and Dawn Macandili an amusing story of Mylene Paat being scared that there’s a ghost inside their hotel room.
“The team needs to have more bonding times like this,” said head coach Shaq delos Santos. “We can’t do this at home.”
Built around players from different teams and from different leagues, the Philippine women’s volleyball team will start its Asean Grand Prix campaign here on Friday against Indonesia.
Coming from a 12-day training camp in Bangkok, the team will be playing in the inaugural Asean GP for its first tuneup tournament as the Nationals aim to break a 14-year medal-drought when the country hosts the Southeast Asian Games this November.
“Right now we have the skills and the ability to make adjustments to the international style of play,” said Delos Santos. “But we can’t say that this is it, because there’s still a lot of factors we need to improve on.”
The Philippines will next take on Thailand on Saturday and Vietnam on Sunday at a pop-up volleyball court inside the sprawling Terminal 21 Mall here.
All the countries taking part in this tournament have sent their SEA Games squads, giving Delos Santos an accurate gauge of the country’s chances for the 30th edition.
The Philippines will miss the services of topscoring option Alyssa Valdez after she suffered a sprained ankle two days before she was supposed to join the team here.
Delos Santos said they will make the best of what they have right now.
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