Podium good, finals better for PH women’s team
BARUERI, BRAZIL—Seizing a bronze medal for the Philippine national women’s volleyball team in the coming Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Hanoi, Vietnam, will be good enough, but reaching the finals would be even better.
And the team is doing everything it can to whip itself up to competitive form in a training camp here.
“We have been doing well in this training camp, playing cohesively as a team despite the short time for its preparation,’’ said Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) executive board member Tony Boy Liao.
“Hopefully we can get a medal in the SEA Games, but it will be much better if we can play in the finals,’’ added Liao, the PNVF national team chair.
Standing on the Filipinos’ path to glory are host Vietnam and perennial champion Thailand, which has become quite invincible at the SEA Games after winning a string of 12 titles without pause for over two decades.
Liao has faith that the PH spikers headlined by volleyball celebrities Alyssa Valdez, Aby Maraño, Jaja Santiago as well as Jema Galanza, Mylene Paat, Ces Molina and Kat Tolentino would be up to the task upon seeing them develop as a tightly knit group up close in the ongoing camp.
Also making the national squad more competitive are setters Iris Tolenada, Kyle Negrito, middle blockers Dell Palomata, Ria Meneses, Majoy Baron and liberos Kath Arado and Dawn Macandili
“Thailand is still the team to beat. The veteran players of Thailand are already gone and it’s practically a young team. It’s a new team, and yet the lineup is still formidable since 12 of their 14 players compete as imports in other countries,’’ said Liao.
The Thais have been dominant in the 11-nation meet since 1995 in Chiang Mai and won the gold medal 14 out of 15 times they played in the finals since 1989 in Kuala Lumpur.
“But I think it’s possible to beat them. Our players will be more experienced because of their (Thais) youth. We also don’t know how long they have been training together,’’ added Liao, an old hand in managing the affairs of the nation’s volleyball program.
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