While the Philippines is set to make sporting history as it hosts its first Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship (AMCC) on April 8 to 16, the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) is scouring the ranks to make certain that it will be fielding its strongest team of spikers.
At a press conference at the SM Aura’s NBA Café in Taguig City, the PVF revealed the players who made the cut to become members of the powerhouse squad, dubbed as the Men’s PLDT Home TVolution team.
Making history is actor and avid sportsman Richard Gomez. A volleyball ambassador of the Philippine Superliga (PSL), he joins an unprecedented fourth national team after having been part of previous squads for rowing, fencing and shooting.
According to national coach Francis Vicente, while slots have already been assured to JP Torres, Ron Jay Galang, Jeffrey Malabanan, Alnakran Abdilla, and Gomez, try outs are still ongoing to fill in the remaining open positions.
“Only the best and dedicated players will be chosen. We want to form a very competitive team for the AMCC,” said Vicente.
The coach also revealed that Australian players Cedric Legrand and William Robert Lewis will reinforce the Philippine team.
Legrand stands at 190 cm and has a jump that almost equals half of his body length (96 cm). He played with the Australian Indoor team in 2008, saw action in Vietnam in 2010, and played in the Victorian Premier League, where he was the MVP last year. Legrand won numerous MVP awards in high school and was a consistent member of the Australian junior national team.
Standing at 191 cm with a vertical leap of 93 cm, Lewis is expected to play setter. He has played in the Victorian League.
Eighteen nations from across Asia will compete for the right to represent the region in the 2014 Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball World Championship at Betim, Brazil in May this year.
With the country being selected as the setting for the most participated tournament of volleyball competition, it validates the Philippines’ status as a world-class venue for international competition and signals the resurgence of the sport in the host country.
Supported by PLDT Home Fibr, PLDT broadband brand, the games will be brought to Filipino sports fans via live streaming and replay-on-demand on TVolution—another milestone in sports entertainment.
Hopes are high that the Men’s PLDT Home TVolution team will advance to the next round after it landed favorable seeding in the drawing of lots.
The Philippines avoided an early clash with Asian heavyweights when it was drawn with Iraq, Kuwait and Mongolia in Group A. Regional powerhouses, Iran and Japan, together with Lebanon and Vietnam, fell into Group B. Group C features 2013’s runner-ups, Qatar and Kazakhstan, along with Oman, Hong Kong and Turkmenistan. The taller Chinese, meanwhile, are expected to dominate United Arab Emirates, India, Papua New Guinea and Chinese Taipei in Group D.
A recent leadership change in the PVF paved the way to the reformation of the national volleyball teams and the country’s hosting of the AMCC, with support from PLDT Home Fibr. The games will gauge the men’s team’s strength as it embarks to put the Philippines back in the regional volleyball scene.
“PLDT Home Fibr is powering the first and biggest volleyball event in Philippine history,” said PLDT vice president and head of Home Broadband Gary Dujali. “We are also bringing world-class sports entertainment to the homes of Filipino sports fans through TVolution.”
PLDT Home Fibr is also bringing the national women’s squad, the Women’s PLDT Home TVolution team, to the 2014 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Nakhonpathom, Thailand on April 17 to 25. The team consists of star spikers Angeli Tabaquero, Michelle Datuin, and Rachel Daquis with head coach Sammy Acaylar.
All games by the Philippine Team will also be televised live on TV5, the official broadcast partner of the AMCC.
For more information, log on to asianmensvball.pldthome.com.