Pinay volleybelles to train in Japan

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The national women’s volleyball team will attend a 17-day training camp in Japan as part of its build up for two international tournaments next month.

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The 14-woman team of head coach Francis Vicente is scheduled to face Japanese squad Okayama Seagulls as well as the teams of Ryukoku University, Kobe Shinwa Women’s University and Osaka University during their training camp to be held from July 17 to August 2.

Alysa Valdez of Ateneo De Manila University in action against Mika Reyes of De La Salle University during last year’s UAAP finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. FILE PHOTO

Vicente is hoping his wards will gain valuable experience from the camp for two major tournaments namely the Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship (ASWVC) on August 9 to 17 in Biñan City, Laguna and the Southeast Asian Games on August 19 to 30 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“We need to get the speed because that’s what I think is lacking. We have the height, we have the skills but we need to learn to put in into speed,” said Vicente during the send off lunch for the team on Friday at the Arellano University Gym in Pasay City.

Vicente said they would also focus on enhancing the physical condition and mental tenacity of the players.

“The speed of making a decision is what we are expecting to learn during our training camp in Japan,” added Vicente, who was with Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. president Joey Romasanta, Philippine Superliga president Ramon Suzara and marketing communications manager Lulu dela Pena of team sponsor Rebisco during the conference.

“We have done this (Japan training) in 1993 – the year that we won the gold medal in the SEA Games. This is just the start and we hope to do well in both tournaments,” said Suzara.

The Philippines is grouped with Hong Kong and Kazakhstan in the ASWVC and the national squad is eyeing a top two finish to qualify for the Asian Cup next year.

In the SEA Games, the squad is grouped with Malaysia and Vietnam.

Former De La Salle University standout Mika Reyes will be the team captain of the squad composed of Denden Lazaro, Kim Fajardo, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, Genevieve Casugod, Abigail Marano, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Jaja Santiago, Alyssa Valdez, Frances Molina, Kim Dy, and Dawn Macandili.

“It’s going to be challenging for everyone in the team. We are a new team but I know this team is composed of skilful players,” said Reyes.

Valdez, the volleyball star from Ateneo de Manila University, will bank on the support of the Filipinos as they try to give honor to the country.

“We are all happy and excited to train in Japan. What we will bring there is the support of the Filipino volleyball fans. This is also our chance to build our character since this is a new team. I am hoping for the best and prayers from our fans,” said Valdez.

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