Philippine representative Rebisco-PSL Manila buckles down to work today against Japan at the start of the Asian Women’s Club Championships at Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan.
National team coach Francis Vicente said Japan, which normally has an import it hardly uses, would be a suitable opponent for the Filipinas who are here to tune up for the August Southeast Asian Games.
“One of the models we are looking at is that of Japan because of its speed and discipline,” said Vicente of the squad backed up by Rebisco, Asics, Grand Sports and Turkish Airlines. “We will be out there fighting with all we’ve got.”
The team worked on foot and leg drills at the lobby of the Shiny River Hotel because it was drizzling all Wednesday morning which sent temperatures to drop to 14-degrees from Tuesday’s high 30 degrees.
The Filipinas also had practice Tuesday night, hours after a tiring flight from Manila, although it hardly showed in the faces of the team whose core will form the SEA Games squad.
Morale is high for the team which will be led by 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago who, despite being just 21 years old, is easily the most decorated player here, including stints in last year’s FIVB World Clubs held in Manila.
“We are ready for the competitions,” said Santiago of Philippine Superliga’s Foton. “We know this is a tough competition but we are excited to go out there and play against the best teams.’
Match will be at 10:30 am (12:30 pm Manila time).
Thailand and Iran collide next at 1:30 pm local time, to be followed by Vietnam-China tussle at 3:30 pm. Host Kazakhstan sees action against Chinese Taipei at 7 pm following the opening ceremony.
The Philippines will face Vietnam on Friday before rounding up its Group B games facing China on Saturday.
Rachel Anne Daquis is team skipper of the club also made up of solid A-listers like Mika Reyes, Aby Marano, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Denden Lazaro and Kim Fajardo. Also making up the team are Bia General, Lourdes Clemente, Maika Ortiz, Gen Casugod, Ces Molina, Aiza Pontillas and Rhea Dimaculangan.
Rebisco PSL-Manila is also composed of team manager Anna Tomas, assistant coaches Brian Esquivel, Ronald Dulay and Emmanuel Calipes.