Pinay spikers begin tough Japan training
Mark Escarlote on Jul 18, 2017 02:44 PM
Philippine national women's volleyball team skipper Mika Reyes and ace spiker Alyssa Valdez were presented to Okayama City mayor together with former Japan national team member and two-time Olympian Mai Yamaguchi (2nd from right).
The Philippine national women’s volleyball team’s tough grind in its Japan training camp officially started Tuesday just a few hours after the squad arrived in Okayama City.
Bannered by skipper Mika Reyes and ace spiker Alyssa Valdez, the Nationals safely made it to the training camp after a 10-hour trip. The team left Manila past noon Monday via Philippine Airlines Flight 408 to Osaka and took a three-hour train ride to the western city of Okayama.
The Pinays were given around six hours of rest before their first training session of the day at 9:00 a.m. where they were warmly welcomed by their hosts Okayama Seagulls.
The Nationals, who are here to gear up for the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and the 29th Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games next month, were scheduled to play a tune-up game with the Seagulls later in the afternoon.
Larong Volleybal sa Pilipinas, Inc. sent the team to Japan to mirror the same build up the National had that led the Philippines to winning its last SEA Games gold medal back in 1993 in Singapore. In 2005, the Pinay squad also trained in Japan before the Manila SEA Games and eventually bagged the bronze medal.
Aside from Reyes and Valdez, the other members of the 14-woman PHI team are veterans Jovelyn Gonzaga and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili, Kim Fajardo, Aby Marano, Rhea Dimaculangan, Frances Molina, Gen Casugod, Denden Lazaro, Jaja Santiago and Maika Ortiz.
Social media diet
The coaching staff were serious when they announced to the team before they flew to Japan that they want the players to take their Japan camp seriously.
Aside from the brutal training that awaits the team until they break camp on August 2, the players had to surrender their cellphones and gadgets to take away any distraction.
“Seryosong ensayo tayo rito. Hindi pwede ang wifi-wifi na ‘yan,” said assistant coach and 1993 SEA Games gold medalist Nene Ybanez-Chavez, who confiscated the players’ phones.
Head coach Francis Vicente is also shuffling the room assignments of the players each day to give them a chance to bond and be friends off the court.
Aside from their six-hour training daily together with Japan V. Premier League powerhouse Seagulls until July 25, 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 will fly back to Manila on August 2 before marching into battle in the Asian tilt in Binan, Laguna on August 9 to 17 and the SEA Games in August 19 to 31.
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