Pinay spikers fly to Japan for a 17-day training camp Monday

Pinay spikers fly to Japan for a 17-day training camp Monday
The Philippine national women's volleyball team flies to Japan on Monday to begin its 17-day training camp in their final preparation for two major international tournaments.

The first major step back to international prominence will be formally taken as the national women’s volleyball team flies to Japan Monday to kick off its preparation for two major international tournaments ahead.

Bannered by skipper Mika Reyes, the Nationals are set to leave past noon via Philippine Airlines Flight 408 to Osaka where they would take a three-hour train ride to the western city of Okayama.

In Okayama, an old city that is known for its enchanting castles and gardens, the Nationals will have a six-hour training daily together with Japan V. Premier League powerhouse Okayama Seagulls until July 25.

After that, the Nationals will move their training camp back to Osaka for a series of friendlies against noted club and university teams like Ryokoku University, Osaka Superiors, Osaka University of HSS and Kobe Shinwa University, the team that reigned supreme in the Philippine Superliga Invitational Conference recently.

The team flies back to Manila on Aug. 2 where it will cool its heels before opening its campaign in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship on Aug. 9 at the Alonte Sports Center in Binan City and Muntinlupa Sports Center in Muntinlupa City.

“Our main objective is to polish our floor defense and blocking as well as our mental preparation,” said Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) marketing and development committee chairman Ramon Suzara, also the PSL chief who is responsible for sending the women’s team to Japan and the men’s team to South Korea.

Also backing up the 14-woman squad are Rebisco and Philippine Sports Commission with the blessing of Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI).

The Japanese training is a staple in the preparation of the national team during its golden age in the 1990.

Former team captain Nene Ybanez-Chavez, who is now part of the national coaching staff, said the Japanese coaches harnessed their skills and character to perfection that propelled them to a glorious finish in the Singapore Southeast Asian Games in 1993.

Head coach Francis Vicente said their hopes are high in this star-studded national squad that also has popular players Aby Marano, Kim Fajardo, Denden Lazaro, Jaja Santiago, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Alyssa Valdez in its roster.

“We have to prepare because this is going to be tough. But I told the team that if the only way to bring back the country to Asian volleyball map is through this kind of training, so be it,” he said.

“I’m sure they will all work hard to survive it.”

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