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PH spikers pass first test in style

The Philippine women’s volleyball team showed it can now handle the pressure that comes in competing in a high-caliber tournament like the 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.

That came in the form of a 25-21, 25-16, 25-17 victory over Hong Kong in the opener of the tournament Wednesday night at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.

Though they have yet to meet powerhouse teams such as Japan, China, Thailand, and South Korea, PH team coach Francis Vicente was happy with the way his players displayed their new-found confidence.

“Lahat naman ng gagawin natin, may pressure. We should love the pressure,” said Vicente.

Team captain Mika Reyes admitted they were edgy but they were able to re-focus and apply what they have learned from their recent 17-day training stint in Japan.

“Sabi ko nga, it’s not a really long preparation, so andyan pa rin yung kaba sa first game. Pero kahit papaano naman, yung pattern na natutunan namin sa Japan, unti-unti naming naa-apply,” said Reyes.

Alyssa Valdez, who topscored with 14 points against Hong Kong, added their confidence as a team is slowly becoming evident.

“We’re hoping na madala namin yung confidence na yun sa mga susunod pang games. It’s a good start for everyone, for the team, yung win against Hong Kong,” Valdez said.

The Nationals faces Kazakhstan today with a goal of sealing a quarterfinals berth, and Vicente said he’s not only relying on one or two players.

“Lahat yan key players. Walang starting six dyan. Lahat sila starting-caliber player. Kung sino yung kundisyon, doon kami,” said Vicente.

“Alam naming malalaki din naman yang Kazakhstan, pero malalaki din naman tayo. Malalaki ang puso natin,” he added.