By Jerome Lagunzad
Confidence boosted by 17-day training camp in Japan.
With less than a week before the AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Championships, all members of the Philippine national team are already locked and loaded.
Thanks to the gains they achieved from a rigorous 17-day training camp in Japan, the Nationals are all set to put those to good use when they compete against their finest counterparts from Asia and Oceania from Aug. 9 to 17 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan City, Laguna.
“Maganda (ang experience). High morale (kami) entering the tournament, the Asian Seniors,” skipper Mika Reyes told local sports portal.
After the Asian meet, the Nationals will have little time to rest and recover as they plunge back to action in the 29th Southeast Asian Games set from August 19 to 31 in Kuala Lumpur, seeking no less than a podium finish.
Star spiker Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aby Maraño, Gen Casugod, Maika Ortiz, Ces Molina, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Rhea Dimaculangan, Kim Fajardo, Kim Dy, Denden Lazaro, Dawn Macandili, team officials and coaches also returned through the Philippine Airlines flight 407.
The Nationals, under the tutelage of coach Francis Vicente, made the most of their overseas training camp, undergoing drills in the morning and friendlies in the afternoon against top Japanese club team and collegiate squads.
And it wasn’t an easy process since the Nationals suffered deflating losses in the first week but finally showed their sustained improvement underscored by their victories against Kobe Shinwa, Osaka superiors and Kansai University in the final stretch.
“So far, maganda ang result. Kahit papaano nandyan na ‘yung pattern, nandyan na ‘yung agressiveness ng bawat player.
Masasabi ko nag-iimprove talaga kami,” said the 6-foot Reyes.