Winless in two days, PH volleybelles learn lessons the rough way in Thailand
The long journey back to glory started with a tumble for the Philippine women’s volleyball team, but it revealed what coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito wanted to see.
“I need to say this, I’m very proud of this team,” De Brito told the Inquirer after Team Philippines—distributed into two club squads—dropped its first assignments in the Asian Clubs Championships in Thailand.
The elements needed to form a team capable of competing among the world’s best are there, according to De Brito. The Olympic champion mentor is on loan for a two-year term from Brazil via FIVB’s (International Volleyball Federation) national teams development program.
“We came to this tournament to play. But we need to play at a high level to evaluate our work,” De Brito explained. “We miss a lot of things. But we have big potential to develop even in these matches.”
Rebisco, the national team A, lost to Kazakhstan’s Altay VC, 25-23, 25-13, 25-17, in Pool B on Friday. Before that, Choco Mucho succumbed to Nakhon Ratchasima QminC VC, 25-11, 28-26, 25-17.
Choco Mucho then took a 25-22, 25-19, 25-15 loss at the hands of Zhetyssu VC of Kazakhstan on Saturday. Rebisco also fell for the second straight time, as Supreme Chonburi coasted to a 25-11, 25-16, 25-26 victory later on Saturday as the PH Team regulars returned and couldn’t do much about the outcome.
Skipper Aby Maraño, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Eya Laure and Ivy Lacsina were cleared to play after satisfying health and safety requirements but were basically nonfactors after coming off quarantine.
It was the second straight win for the Pink Dolphins, the three-time champions of the local league.
But going winless in their first four games combined doesn’t faze De Brito, who sees a silver lining in the Philippine participation in the tough-as-nails tournament.
“At this time, we have two different and distinct teams (Rebisco and Choco Mucho) when we mix them we’ll have infinite potentials and a more balanced team,” said De Brito.
He fielded young players like Michaela Belen, Faith Nisperos, Imee Hernandez, Kamille Cal and Bernadette Pepito, who stood their ground against the well established, import-powered Kazakh club.
Majoy Baron, only on her second tour of duty for the Philippine team, said De Brito commended them for “showing no fear in our faces.”
With the rebuild starting only two months ago, De Brito said their goal to setup a young and tall team is taking shape.
“It’s just the beginning. We will take all the lessons [to heart],” said De Brito. “This is just the first step.”
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