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Phl spikers brace for Japan camp

The indoor and beach volleyball teams bound for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia will undergo a two-week training camp in Japan, the Philippine National Volleyball Federations said yesterday.

National team committee head Tonyboy Liao said that the men’s and women’s indoor volleyball teams and their beach volleyball counterparts will be sent to hone their skills in preparation for the SEA Games scheduled 5 to 17 May in Phnom Penh.

PNVF has yet to name the final composition of the indoor teams from the 19-player men’s pool and 17 players listed in the women’s side.

The sports’ local governing body is expected to submit its entry by names to the Philippine Olympic Committee, which will then be forwarded to the SEA Games organizers by the middle of this month.

Liao said that the teams will begin their Japanese training once the Premier Volleyball League wraps up. The PVL will begin its season-opening All-Filipino Conference starting tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Fifteen of the 17 players in the women’s pool are from the PVL while two are from the University of the East.

PVL president Ricky Palou reiterated the league’s commitment to lend a hand to the country’s quest for the SEA Games gold.

In fact, the league adjusted its calendar to accommodate the national team’s preparations. The PVL will run until 30 March — the latest in case the championship series extends to a Game 3.

“We expect to finish the conference by the end of March. What we’re looking at is for the national team to be able to prepare for the SEA Games,” Palou, also an old hand in Philippine volleyball.

“So, they’ll have about six weeks to train. I understand they’re going to be sent abroad for a training camp.”

The women’s national team has yet to make a return to the podium since winning bronze in the 2005 SEA Games edition in Manila.

“We expect to do a lot better this time in the SEA Games, and we hope to get a (place on the) podium,” Palou added.

Meanwhile, the majority of the players in the men’s pool are currently campaigning in the Spikers’ Turf, which will end on 2 April at the latest if there is a Finals Game 3.

The men’s squad, under new head coach Odjie Mamon, seeks a medal finish since winning silver in 2019.

Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado-De Guzman lead four other Creamline players in the women’s pool. They are joined by other Cool Smashers, who represented the country in the AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup and the ASEAN Grand Prix, Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, Ced Domingo and libero Kyla Atienza.

Also included in the women’s pool are Choco Mucho’s Kat Tolentino and Cherry Nunag, Cignal setter Angel Cayuna, PLDT’s Kath Arado, Mika Reyes, Del Palomata and Jules Samonte, Mylene Paat of Chery Tiggo and Petro Gazz’s MJ Phillips and UE’s Lia Pelaga and Riza Nogales.

Bryan Bagunas and Marck Espejo, on the other hand, banner the men’s pool with other Phl team mainstays Kim Malabunga, Ish Polvorosa and Jau Umandal.

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