The Philippines will be gunning for its first win as it faces Iran in the 1st Asian Women’s Under-23 Volleyball Championship today at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The Philippines-Iran match is at 4:15 p.m. after the tussle between India and Macau at 12 noon, and Uzbekistan and Thailand at 2 p.m. Japan and Maldives will square off at 7 p.m.
“We will be facing a relatively unknown team, but we will be ready. We have prepared hard for this tournament and I can assure our countrymen that we will give these taller Iranians a very good fight,” said national team head coach Roger Gorayeb.
University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) two-time Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo de Manila University and 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago of National University will be leading the frontline of the squad along with UAAP Best Setter Jia Morado.
“We’ll up with a game plan that will counter the height and reach of the opponents so rest assured that it will be action-packed from start to finish. We will be ready, that’s for sure,” added Gorayeb.
Also seeing action are Grethcel Soltones, Myla Pablo, Bea de Leon, EJ Laure, Tin Agno, Marivic Meneses, Jhoanna Maraguinot, Rissa Sato and Ella De Jesus.
“The first game is always the toughest. But we won’t be intimidated. After all, their opponents are also 23 years old. Once they step on the court, all they will do is to execute the game plan and shoot for the victory. Intimidation has no room in our team,” stressed Gorayeb.
The Filipinas must win once to secure a spot in the second round of elimination.
The top two teams in the tournament will be given automatic berths to the prestigious World Women’s Under-23 Volleyball Championship in Ankara, Turkey.
(Philsports Arena, Pasig)
12:00 nn — India vs Macau
2:00 pm — Uzbekistan vs Thailand
4:15 pm — Philippines vs Iran
7:00 pm — Japan vs Maldives