Nationals brace for tough rematch against Vietnam
Mark Escarlote on Oct 04, 2019 12:57 AM
The Philippine national women’s volleyball team opens its campaign in the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix against Vietnam on Friday.
The Philippine national women’s volleyball team hopes to capitalize on its home court advantage and with Vietnam missing the services of its main scorer as the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix kicks off Friday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-purpose Sports Complex in Laguna.
Carrying the momentum of its bronze medal finish in the first leg of the four-nation tournament in Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand, the Filipinas will try to duplicate its conquest of the Vietnamese in their scheduled 3:00 p.m. showdown.
The match will be available via iWant and livestream (Philippines only).
Team captain Aby Marano sees the support of the home crowd as a big morale boost for the squad seeking to surpass its finish in the opening leg.
“Oo, kasi ang sarap maglaro na may sumisigaw sa’yo eh. Iba kasi dun sa Thailand kaunti lang ang Pilipino. Iba kasi yung may sumisigaw, tinatawag ang pangalan mo kasi nakaka-add ng confidence and morale yun,” said Marano.
The Nationals are also looking to exploit the absence Vietnamese top hitter Thi Thanh Thuy Tran, who is currently training with her club in the Japan V. Premier League, though the Filipinas themselves lost two key players.
“Sa tingin ko malaking bagay din yun pero kasi nawalan din kami ng players like Alohi (Robins-Hardy) and Kalei (Mau). For sure another challenging match for us,” Marano said. “We’re not taking it as wala si T4 magiging complacent kami, we’re gonna take it na mas ma-inspire kami to play our A-game.”
Vietnam coach Tuan Kiet Nguyen knows that their rematch against the Philippines will be tougher.
“The Philippine team now improved a lot. We lost the match in Thailand two weeks ago, but in this tournament, we're still not confident because one of our players cannot play here,” he said.
Replacing Mau, who suffered an Achilles injury, and Robins-Hardy, who had trouble securing a Philippine passport, are Grethcel Soltones and Jasmine Nabor.
Alyssa Valdez, who skipped the Thailand edition because of an ankle injury, will make her debut for the Nationals in the tournament that serves as test event for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
First leg Best Middle Blocker award winner Majoy Baron, skipper Aby Marano, Ces Molina, Mylene Paat, Roselyn Doria, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Kath Arado and Dawn Macandili are back for another tour of duty. Also making their return are Maddie Madayag, setter Jia Morado, Eya Laure and Jovelyn Gonzaga.
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