Rex Intal relishes the opportunity to again play for the national team and this time under Brazilian coach Sergio Veloso.
The veteran middle blocker expressed excitement to learn and improve under the tutelage of Veloso as the Nationals test their mettle in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Challenge Cup for Men kicking off today in Taiwan.
Intal is making a comeback for the tricolor after skipping the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia last May.
His presence along with other returning stars Marck Espejo and Kim Malabunga, who were part of the squad that finished with a silver medal in the 2019 edition of the biennial meet, will add more depth and firepower to the 14-man Nationals in the tournament featuring 17 countries.
“Now we are very privileged to be under the helm of our new Brazilian coach, Coach Sergio. We were introduced to a new approach and system of volleyball to the point that we had to go back to basics,” Intal told Daily Tribune.
“As an athlete, we have to continuously learn.”
Intal heeded the Philippine National Volleyball Federation’s call after begging off from what could have been his third straight SEA Games cap due to personal reasons.
The Ateneo de Manila University standout is confident their preparations and Veloso’s system will pay dividends.
“We really learned a lot from him and we are excited to see how his system can help us not only in the national team but also in the whole Philippine volleyball as well,” Intal said.
The three-time University Athletic Association of the Philippines champion is also stoked to play beside Espejo and Malabunga.
“I’m happy Marck and Kim decided to play again because for me they were key players in 2019 when we won the silver (in the SEA Games) and they are undoubtedly some of the best players the Philippines has to offer,” he said.
The Nationals open their Pool D campaign on Sunday against Macau before taking on Mongolia the following day.