Philippine team continues to fine tune court chemisty

Mark Escarlote on Oct 26, 2019 07:29 PM
Philippine team continues to fine tune court chemisty
The Philippine women's volleyball team played back-to-back tune-up games against Yamanashi Chuo Bank and Yamagata Prestige International Aranmare.

TOKYO --- The Philippine national women’s volleyball team continues to work on its chemistry inside the court.

Pitted against a pair of Japan Division 2 club teams, the Nationals are slowly building their cohesiveness despite winning only one set in seven frames played in their tune-up games Saturday held at the Yamanashi Chuo Bank gym.

The Filipinas again took a two-hour bus to get to Yamanashi, travelling along the mountain ranges on a cool and breezy morning to get to their host club’s gym, which gives a picturesque view of the snow-capped peak of the lovely Mount Fuji.

But on court, the Nationals, who are now without Alyssa Valdez and setter Jia Morado after the duo returned to Manila Friday to fulfill their club duties, got a reality check against Yamanashi Chuo Bank and another visiting team, the Yamagata Prestige International Aranmare.

The three teams played each other in alternating sets.

Yamagata bested the Filipinas, 26-24, 25-22, 25-17, but the Nationals avoided a shutout with a tight fourth set win in its 19-25, 24-26, 23-25, 25-23, result over the Yamanashi Chuo Bank.

“Magandang opportunity para sa amin na makalaro ang ganitong klase ng team,” said head coach Shaq Delos Santos of their third tune-up match date in the 12-day Japan training for the 30th Southeast Asian Games next month made possible by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and the Philippine Sports Commission.

Delos Santos, just like in their first two practice games, stressed the importance of being patient and sustaining their level of intensity.  

“Kailangan naming i-improve ang patience ng team kapag naglalaro. Kasi hindi mo sila [Japanese teams] basta-basta mababagsakan ng bola,” he said. “Kailangan kapag umaatake ka at dumidiskarte ka tuluy-tuloy hangga’t di namamatay ang bola.”

The Nationals were able to salvage a set win in a come-from-behind fashion.

Down, 20-22, the Filipinas fought back against Yamanashi with a 4-1 closing run capped by Maddie Madayag’s block and a quick attack.

Delos Santos rotated his lineup, trying different combinations in each frame played.

The Nationals were able to take set point advantages against both their rivals in their early games but the Filipinas squandered both chances, something that Delos Santos wanted his team to address.

“Nakakatuwa kasi ang score namin not naman sobrang layo, konti na lang, so parang pwedeng ipanalo. Pero yun ang isa pa sa kailangan naming i-improve yung sa end game namin,” he said.

Against Yamanata, the Filipinas took a 24-23 advantage in the first set but a costly error allowed their rivals to steal the frame.

The same happened in the second set against Yamanashi as Majoy Baron sent her serve long with the Philippines at set point advantage before the host club scored off back-to-back hits to take the frame.

The Filipinas were able to keep up with the Japanese clubs in the succeeding sets with Baron, Mylene Paat, skipper Aby Marano, Madayag and reserve Roselyn Doria working hard at the net while Kalei Mau, Ces Molina, Eya Laure, Jovelyn Gonzaga and reserve Aiza Maizo-Pontillas contributed on offense. Kat Arado and Dawn Macandili manned the floor well and lone setter Rhea Dimaculangan playing in all sets.

But it was the finishing kick that was lacking except for the last set.

The Nationals travelled back to Sagamihara at around 6:00 p.m. and brought with them the lessons learned in their trip together with luscious green grapes – a well-known local produce – given to them by their gracious hosts.

Up next for the squad is a tune-up game on Monday against Japan V. Premier League team Hitachi but on Sunday the team will take a little breather.



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