PH women’s volleyball team repeats over Barueri U-21
BARUERI, BRAZIL—Great joy was written all over the faces of the Philippine women’s team and the large Filipino community cheering at the stands when the national squad repeatedly asserted its superiority on the home floor of the Barueri Volleyball Club under-21 squad on Thursday.
Though the Brazilians managed to sneak in a set, the PH spikers were superb in posting another cruel 25-11, 22-25, 25-13, 26-24 scourging of the home team at the Sportville training camp here.
Mylene Paat was relentless on flogging the Brazilian turf with 19 points while Jaja Santiago came out simply unstoppable at the net with 18 for the Filipinos, who emerged triumphant in their last three tuneup outings.
“They have been working hard and they are getting better. I know that in competition, they can do much more,’’ said head coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito.
So far, the only blemish in the national team’s record halfway into the two-week Brazilian camp was the setback against Superliga A club Sao Caetano, which the Filipinos met immediately a day after a tiring 36-hour journey from Manila.
Alyssa Valdez shelled the Brazilian end of the floor with eight points while fellow open spikers Ces Molina and Jema Galanza were likewise in attack-mode throughout with seven points each as setters Kyle Negrito and Iris Tolenada orchestrated diverse scoring opportunities for them.
Team captain Aby Marano had flashes of brilliance in the second set while opposite spiker Kat Tolentino, liberos Kath Arado, Dawn Macandili and middle blockers Dell Palomata and Majoy Baron also made life difficult for the opposition.
It was a different narrative the first time they met the BVC U21 on Wednesday, but the result was gratifying considering that the composition of the national squad bound for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam was finalized only less than two weeks ago.
Team Philippines trampled over club team Sesi Sorocaba prior to their back-to-back victories over BVC in the camp made possible by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Taguig City, Rebisco and PLDT.
“The team has been consistently improving since arriving here. They have already adjusted and you can see it during practices and during the games,’’ said PNVF executive board member and national team chairperson Tony Boy Liao.
According to De Brito, who has a competent core of assistants in Odjie Mamon, Grace Antigua, Raffy Mosuela, Tina Salak and therapist Grace Gomez, the national squad won’t play another tuneup until some of the on-court concerns have been addressed.
“We don’t need any (tuneup game) right now. Maybe next week, but right now we have to fix some problems before we play again,’’ said De Brito.
The PH spikers are aiming to secure a medal in the SEA Games to end a long drought since Team Philippines claimed a bronze medal in the 2005 SEA Games in Manila and a gold during the 1993 Singapore edition.