Thailand intensifies training ahead of VNL Week 2 in Manila
MANILA, Philippines — Thailand is bracing for a tough challenge in the Week 2 of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) starting Tuesday next week at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 15-time Southeast Asian Games medalist intensified its preparation for its world campaign with a two-hour training session at PhilSports Arena.
Thailand, which is missing the services of its middle blocker Thatdao Nuekjang, will play Canada on Tuesday to kickoff the VNL Week 2, while Japan faces Poland.
Tokyo Olympics gold medalist and defending VNL champion United States, China, Bulgaria and Belgium are also competing in the event.
The Thais, who arrived last Tuesday, take on the Philippine women’s volleyball team in an international friendly on Saturday at San Juan Arena.
The side event dubbed the Philippine National Volleyball Federation International Challenge is set at 6 pm.
The Chatchu-on Moksri-led team is set to take on Alyssa Valdez, Mylene Paat, and Aby Marano anew after clashing in the 31st SEA Games last month.
Thailand made short work of the Philippines, 25-15, 25-13, 25-14 in Hanoi, Vietnam and swept the whole tournament for another SEA Games gold.
Premier Volleyball League Open Conference MVP Tots Carlos and Aduke Ogunsanya were invited to play for the national team, joining the SEA Games squad, bannered by Kat Tolentino, Jema Galanza, Dell Palomata, Majoy Baron, Iris Tolenada, Kyle Negrito, Dawn Macandili, and Kath Arado.
Middle blocker Jaja Santiago won’t be part of the event as she is already in Japan. Cignal’s Ces Molina and Ria Meneses, who played in the biennial meet, were not also part of the list.
The Thais won three of its first four games in VNL’s week 1 in Ankara, Turkey.
The Philippine women’s volleyball team will also face Japan, which swept its first four VNL matches in Shreveport and Bossier City in the United States, in an exhibition game on Sunday.