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Jampacked sked awaits Phl spikers in Taiwan

A busy two-week Chinese-Taipei training camp awaits the national men’s volleyball team pool as its preparations for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia shift into high gear.

The Filipinos’ mettle will be tested by four Taiwan Top League clubs including the Bryan Bagunas-led LianZhuang WinStreak in a series of tune-up matches.

The Nationals, handled by head coach Odjie Mamon, safely arrived at Kaohsiung International Airport Wednesday afternoon to open the camp that will run until 26 February.

Training began Thursday starting with a morning session of basic drills at the Dailao Training Center before the scheduled afternoon scrimmage against Taipower.

The Taiwan training camp is part of a volleyball exchange program meant to further strengthen the two federations’ ties.

“Actually, this training camp is already the start of the exchange program because the Chinese-Taipei men’s team will also be arriving here prior to (our hosting) of the men’s VNL (Volleyball Nations League) in July,” national team committee chairperson Tonyboy Liao said.

Two more matches against Taipower are set today and tomorrow before the team travels Sunday to Taichung where they will stay at the Splendor Hotel for the second half of its training itinerary.

The Nationals, who seek a podium return in the biennial meet slated to begin 5 May in Phnom Penh, will then face Bagunas and the WinStreak on Monday, 20 February.

They will face WinStreak once again on 22 February.

Bagunas, who was instrumental in the Philippines’ silver medal finish in the 2019 SEA Games held in Manila, begged off from another tour of duty because of prior commitments including preparations for his wedding in June.

A tune-up match against Apollo is set on 21 and 23 February before the squad wraps up its friendlies against TFMI on 24 February.

The team will fly back to Manila on 26 February.

Veterans Rex Intal and Jau Umandal led the 13-man national pool that traveled to Taiwan.

Also part of the 15-man pool set to compete in the SEA Games are Jade Disquitado, Lloyd Josafat, Rwenzmel Taguibolos, Leo Ordiales, Vince Lorenzo, Jay de la Noche, Madzlan Gampong, Kim Dayandante, Jelex Mendiola, Vince Mangulabnan, Edward Camposano, Jayvee Sumagaysay and Noel Kampton.

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