A work in progress.
The Philippine national women’s volleyball team has now spent six days training with Okayama Seagulls in Okayama, Japan as preparation for the forthcoming Asian Games 2018 in Palembang and Jakarta, Indonesia.
Ending a 36-year non-participation in the tourney, the Aby Maraño-skippered squad is determined to learn from the disciplined, well-oiled volleyball program of the Japanese as they shoot for at least a quarterfinals finish.
As the official kick off date of the Asiad gets nearer, the Nationals will be forced to train harder — and they will, like they always do.
Rome is not built in one day, though, and there are still loopholes to be corrected in the team, as expected for a team who was just assembled in June.
A podium finish against Olympic gold medallist China, Southeast Asian giant Thailand and Asian heavyweight Japan is a tough job, and every one knows this. Although the climb is hard, it’s not impossible, and it’s not wrong to dream for a medal finish for the Nationals.
After all, their roster boasts Alyssa Valdez, who has played as import for Thailand and Chinese Taipei, an Asian Senior Women’s Championship second Best Libero in Dawn Macandili, Kim Fajardo, who was applauded by several international coaches, and Ageo Medics-bound Jaja Santiago.
But what are really their chances come Asiad? Let’s take a recap on the last time the Philippines tussled with Japan, Thailand and Japan.
PHI versus THA
The most recent clash between the national teams of Thailand and Philippines was on August 26, 2017 during the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.
Mentored by Francis Vicente then, the Nationals put up a gallant stand but couldn’t hold the lead against Thailand in the semifinals of the biennial meet. The Mika Reyes-captained troop bowed to Thailand in straight sets, 21-25, 17-25, 17-25.
PHI versus JPN
Japanese elite club Hisamitsu Springs made quick work of Rebisco-PSL in the 2017 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Kazakhstan.
Playing sans their core players, Hisamitsu still swept Rebisco-PSL, which was composed of 11 national team players then, 25-17, 25-10, 25-14.
PHI versus HKG
Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago conspired for 27 markers during Philippines’ straight set win over Hongkong during the preliminary round of the 2017 Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Manila.
The national team ousted Hongkong in every department for a 25-21, 25-16, 25-17 victory which sent them to the next round of the Asian tilt.
PHI versus INA
The last time the two teams dueled was clouded with controversy prior to the protests filed by the Philippine volleyball officials against Indonesia’s Aprilia Manganang during the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
After clearing the air, the hard-hitting Manganang took her sweet time demolishing Philippines in straight sets as she uncorked 11 kills and an ace to give Indonesia the 25-22, 25-20, 25-20 win.