JAKARTA, Indonesia – After an eighth-place finish in the 2018 Asian Games, the Philippine women's volleyball team will face some of Asia's best again in a couple of weeks.
The Filipina spikers will see action in the 2018 Asian Women's Volleyball Cup from September 17 to 23 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand where they hope to come up with a better showing.
However, the team will miss several key players due to prior commitments.
Jaja Santiago, the UAAP Season 80 Most Valuable Player and one of the team's leading scorers, will leave for Japan on September 15 as she suits up for the Ageo Medics in the Japan V Premier League.
UAAP Season 80 volleyball champions Dawn Macandili, Kim Dy and Majoy Baron of La Salle won't be around as well for the tournament.
"Yung sa [kaka-graduate na] La Salle players kasi, pupunta sila ng New York ng [September] 8 to 19 [for vacation]," said head coach Shaq delos Santos.
(The La Salle players who just graduated, they are going to New York for vacation from September 8 to 19.)
Minus Macandili, the team will have to do without the superb floor defense of the Season 80 finals MVP, who was also named as Asia's second best libero in the 2017 Asian Seniors Women's Volleyball championships.
Injuries have also depleted the lineup, prompting Delos Santos to consider adding new players to the national training pool.
"Ang conflict ni MJ [Phillips] syempre yung shoulder niya until now [injured pa rin], [Si Ces Molina] ganun din, may injury, so maghahanap kami or magfifit kami ng players na pwede," said Delos Santos.
(MJ Phillips and Ces Molina sustained injuries so we have look for available players who can fit the team.)
Filipino-American Phillips suffered a shoulder injury, while Molina had a stress fracture on her shin, which paved the way for Mylene Paat's inclusion in the Asiad national team.
The Philippine spikers will fly out of Jakarta on Monday, September 3. They will get a brief rest before going back to the grind to prepare for the Thailand tournament.
"Yung ibang [Asian Games] teams, ganun din ginagawa nila [participate sa Asian Cup] kaya wala kaming dahilan para magsabi na, ‘Ay nakakapagod na, at titigil na kami kasi napagod na tayo sa dalawang linggo na competition ng Asian Games.' Pero kung sila, kaya nila, dapat kaya din natin," said team captain Aby Maraño.
(The other Asian Games teams, they are also participating in the Asian Cup so we don't have any reason to complain and say, 'Oh we're tired and we're going to stop because we got tired from two weeks of competing in the Asian Games.' But if they can do it, then we can do it.) – Rappler.com