PH spikers show great improvement as Brazil camp nears wrap-up
BARUERI, BRAZIL—The atmosphere on the court has dramatically changed since the Philippine women’s volleyball team set up a two-week training camp in this country acclaimed as a global force in the sport.
From an assembly of pure individual talent and skill mashed together on the fly, the national squad bound for the 31st Southeast Asian Games has transformed into a picture of efficiency with all the parts playing like a well-oiled machine.
“They are really playing well as a team despite the limited time that they trained. And the longer they train, the more cohesive this team will be,” said Philippine National Volleyball Federation executive board member Tony Boy Liao.
The team made up of Premier Volleyball League stars has two more days of workouts left at the Sportville training camp here before heading back to Manila.
The PH spikers led by volley celebrities Aby Marano, Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago together with veterans Mylene Paat, Ces Molina, Kat Tolentino and Jema Galanza will arrive home on Friday.
‘CAMP SERVED ITS PURPOSE’
Head coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito gave them a two-day rest before the squad, featuring setters Iris Tolenada, Kyle Negrito, middle blockers Dell Palomata, Ria Meneses, Majoy Baron and liberos Kath Arado and Dawn Macandili, resumes its twice-a-day practice on May 2.
“You can really see the improvement. This training camp really served its purpose. They came from different clubs (in the PVL) and now they train competitively together,” said Liao, the PNVF national team chairperson and team manager for the entire duration of the camp.
De Brito said the national spikers would train even on holidays during the final eight-day stretch before leaving for the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam on May 10.
“Hopefully, we can get a medal in the SEA Games, but it will be much better if we can play in the finals,’’ said Liao.
The national squad won its three last tuneup matches—once against club team Sesi Sorocaba and twice over the Barueri Volleyball Club under-21 team on their home court—in the camp organized by the PNVF headed by its president Ramon “Tats” Suzara with the support of the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Rebisco, PLDT and the City of Taguig.
They dropped the first of their four tuneups against Sao Caetano after hitting the court with less than a day upon arriving from an exhausting 36-hour journey from Manila.
Assisting de Brito are coaches Odjie Mamon, Grace Antigua, Raffy Mosuela, Tina Salak and physical therapist Grace Gomez.
“The coaches have done a very good job of putting this team together. I’m hopeful that the progress of this team will continue all the way to the SEA Games,” said Liao, who, as team manager, won three UAAP women’s volley titles for La Salle and twice for Ateneo.
According to Liao, this is the first national team that was brought to Brazil to train since previous training camps were held in China, Japan or Thailand.
“I told them to always be confident and play with your heart. This is for the country and not for themselves,” said Liao during his inspirational talk prior to leaving for Manila on Monday.
Inquirer’s special coverage of the Hanoi SEA Games 2021.
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.