May mapupuntahan kami -- Vicente on match vs Hong Kong
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 -- PHI team head coach Francis Vicente
Philippine national women’s volleyball team head coach Francis Vicente sees the squad’s Pool A opening match against Hong Kong as a crucial battle in their mission to enter the quarterfinals of the 19th SMM Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Slated at 6:00 p.m. at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna, the tussle will serve as the Nationals’ jump off point not only to advance in the second round but also to boost their chances of punching a ticket to the 2018 AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup.
The match will air on a delayed basis at 6:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23 and ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166.
“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 Vicente Tuesday in the event’s press conference at the Crimson Hotel in Muntinlupa City.
The Filipinas are in a three-nation bracket along with Kazakhstan, who the Nationals will face on Friday. For the PHI team to advance in the next round, it will need to win at least one match and hope that one team will end up winless.
The top two teams in each of the four pools will advance in the second round, where their placing in the knockout quarterfinals will be determined.
Two years ago, the Philippines finished 12th in the Tianjin, China edition of the tournament.
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.
But Vicente remains cautious of Hong Kong.
“Alam naman natin ang Hong Kong kahit papano naga-upgrade na rin ‘yan eh, us also is upgrading already,” he said. “Pero I believe in the team itself, may pupuntahan kami tomorrow. Ayaw ko lang mag-conclude pero I’m very confident na makakapasok tayo ng quarterfinals.”
The squad, bannered by skipper Mika Reyes, Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago and Kim Fajardo, trained in Japan for 17 days as preparation for the tournament and the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia later this month.
Other members of the team are Aiza Maizo-Pointillas, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan, Gen Casugod, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aby Marano, Denden Lazaro, Ces Molina, Kim Kianna Dy and Dawn Macandili.
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