PH to play friendlies vs Netherlands, China in VNL as part of AVC Challenge Cup buildup
MANILA, Philippines-The Philippines will play friendly matches against Netherlands and China at the sidelines of the Volleyball Nations League, organizers said during a press briefing Monday at Diamond Hotel.
The matches will be part of the preparation of the national men’s team for the AVC Challenge Cup in Taiwan.
“It’s an honor for us to play world-class teams before we leave for the AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation) tournament,” said Ramon “Tats” Suzara.
The VNL gets going July 4 with the top teams of the world converging at Mall of Asia Arena for the crucial third week of the tournament. The Manila leg will serve as the final chance for squads to bolster their standings before the finals that will be hosted by Poland.
“I requested Japan [to play a friendly against the Philippines] but the third week is very crucial because that’s when teams send their best players so these teams want to be careful before heading into the finals in Poland,” Suzara said.
Steven Rotter, the national team opposite spiker who was also present during the press briefing, said the friendlies will be a big boost for the men’s squad heading into the Asian tilt.
“Playing against the top teams in the world is great training for team and players. We haven’t seen this kind of talent ever,” Rotter said.
The VNL will run until July 9 and Suzara said it will be a chance for Filipino fans to watch truly world-class volleyball action.
“We will have the top teams in the world,” Suzara said. “We have Italy, the champion last year and we also have Poland, the silver medalist last year. We also have Brazil and Slovenia.”
“Of course, we have the most popular squad here, Japan, which won all its games in the Nagoya leg and is on top of the standings.”