Men’s volley squad out to salvage crumbs
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA—With a game left to play, the national men’s volleyball team will be gunning for some sort of consolation against Singapore Saturday as the Filipinos close out a disappointing campaign in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games here.
This, despite a training and team-building blueprint that was aimed at claiming gold.
“We felt that we were ready. We started out well in both (first two games lost), but we lack the ability to finish strong at the endgame,’’ said Joshua Umandal following an 18-25, 18-25, 17-25, setback against Cambodia late Thursday evening that threw the Philippines out of the semifinal picture for good.
“Our errors hurt us in the final set,’’ added the opposite hitter from the Philippine Navy.
The foreign trip highlighted by tuneup matches that ran for two weeks, it seemed, wasn’t enough.
“The heat (inside the gym) wasn’t a factor. We simply lack the preparation for this tournament,’’ said Umandal.
The men’s team has been trying to reclaim a spot at the medal podium of the SEA Games after a silver performance back in the 2019 version held in Manila.
“Compared to the team back in 2019, ours didn’t have a long period of training together,’’ said Umandal.
Prior to that stinging defeat against the host country at the humid Indoor Olympic Stadium, the rebuilding men’s squad suffered an early 18-25, 18-25, 23-25, loss against defending champion Indonesia.
“We only have 10 days in the camp in Japan and we played with a lot of pressure. Our focus in this tournament is not only to be in a good position, but to try our best and give our 110 percent,’’ said head coach Sergio Veloso.
“Now we have a good match with Singapore and it’s important that we play at a high level. But when you continue making the same mistakes, how can you improve?’’ added the Brazilian coach.