Pinay spikers clash with Hong Kong in Asian Senior opener

Pinay spikers clash with Hong Kong in Asian Senior opener
The Philippine national women’s volleyball team opens its campaign in the 19th SMM Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship against Hong Kong.

The Philippine national women’s volleyball team's journey in the 19th SMM Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship begins Wednesday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

With an immediate goal of reaching the quarterfinals, the Nationals look at their 6:00 p.m. Pool A joust against Hong Kong as a crucial battle to reach their target.

The match will air on a delayed basis on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23 and ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 at 6:30 p.m.   

“It’s a very important game for the Philippines especially if we want to enter the quarterfinals. So we need to win against Hong Kong,” said PHI head coach Francis Vicente.

Bannered by team captain Mika Reyes, 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago, veteran playmaker Kim Fajardo and Alyssa Valdez, the current roster of the national team is considered as one of the strongest team assembled in recent years.

But much is yet to be proven inside the court.

The match will serve as a rematch of the two squads classification round showdown two years ago in Tianjin, China.  

The Nationals, then bannered by Myla Pablo, defeated Hong Kong in a come-from-behind fashion, 21-25, 18-25 25-20, 25-16, 15-11, in the classification round for ninth to 14th place. PHI finished 12th.  

Current members Ces Molina and Kim Kianna Dy are playing in their second straight Asian Senior stint. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas is also seeing action for the second time in the tournament after suiting up for the Nationals in 2013 in Nakho Ratchasima, Thailand.  

Vicente has high hopes that his squad, which trained for 17 days in Japan as part of its preparation.

“Na-scout namin (ang Hong Kong) lahat naman 'yan pinag-aaralan eh,” said Vicente, who will also bank on Aby Marano, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Gen Casugod, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, Dawn Macandili and Denden Lazaro. “Recently may tournament sila so we saw them play and hopefully we can do fairly and win the game.”

Two wins by the PHI or at least a victory coupled by two losses of either Kazakhstan or Hong Kong will give the Nationals a seat in the quarterfinals and most importantly a ticket to the 2018 Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup. The PHI will face Kazakhstan on Friday.

Six-foot-1 ace scorer Sau Mei Yeung, Sze Wing Cheung, Wing Man To, libero Ka Yee Tsui, Hoi Lun Helen Ip and Yee Ting Lam are back to spearhead Hong Kong’s campaign.

 

 

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