We hope we can enter the quarterfinals -- Vicente

We hope we can enter the quarterfinals -- Vicente
It’s a very tough competition. We hope that we can enter the quarterfinals. That’s the first goal -- PHI national women's volleyball coach Francis Vicente

Philippine national women’s volleyball team head coach Francis Vicente sets an initial target of reaching the quarterfinals in the 19th SMM Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.

The Nationals open their campaign in Pool A against Hong Kong at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

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 tough competition. We hope that we can enter the quarterfinals. That’s the first goal,” said Vicente Tuesday in the event’s press conference at the Crimson Hotel in Muntinlupa City. “Maybe we can do a much higher rank.”

Vicente was joined in the presser by coaches and representatives of the participating teams from defending champion China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Chinese-Taipei, Iran, Maldives, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and Southeast Asian powerhouse Thailand.

The PHI, which is bannered by team captain Mika Reyes, Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago and Kim Fajardo, will face Kazakhstan on Friday.

Other members of the PHI squad are Aiza Maizo-Pointillas, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan, Gen Casugod, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aby Marano, Denden Lazaro, Ces Molina, Kim Kianna Dy and Dawn Macandili.

As part of their preparation for the Asian Senior tilt and the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Pinay squad trained in Japan for 17 days.

“When we trained in Japan one lesson that we learned is composure. We need to play relaxed and we need to play with our minds and our hearts,” said Vicente. “We also developed our speed when we were there in Japan and hopefully it will help us in our campaign.”    

The top two teams in each of the four Pools will advance in the second round and will automatically qualify in the 2018 AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Cup.

Those who will not advance in the second round will still compete in the classification round.

The second round will have a crossover format among the top two teams in each of the pools to determine their placing in the knockout quarterfinals. The semis and finals are also winner-take-all matches

Pool C teams Korea and New Zealand will face off at 12:30 noon in a match that will air live while Thailand and Maldives of Pool D will play at 3:00 p.m. at Alonte Sports Arena.

Chinese-Taipei and Iran (Pool D) will face off at 12:30 noon; Japan and Australia (Pool B) square off at 3:00 p.m. while Vietnam and Sri Lanka (Pool C) are scheduled to collide at 6:00 p.m. at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.                       



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