Philippine volleyball teams, football side mark return to SEA Games after long absence
Dindin Santiago-Manabat leads an 18-member lineup for the Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship and will likely be tapped for the SEA Games. Dante Peralta

A PHILIPPINE women’s and men’s volleyball team as well as a men’s football squad are back to compete in the Southeast Asian Games after the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) formally approved their participation in the Singapore showpiece.

Julian Camacho, the Philippines’ chief of mission to the Southeast Asian Games, bared on Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum that they have approved the participation of a 12-member women’s volleyball team to the biennial meet.

A 20-man men’s Under-23 football team also got POC approval while the participation of the 12-man men’s team will be funded by a private sponsor, Camacho added.

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Their inclusion ends years of non-participation in the SEA Games for volleyball. The women’s and men’s team last competed in the 2005 SEA Games competition held in Bacolod City with the women finishing with a bronze medal and the men taking fourth place.

Despite the growing popularity of the sport, no national team has consistently participated in the SEA Games until this year following the takeover of Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. as the national sports association of the sport recognized by the POC, replacing the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF).

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An Under-23 women’s and men’s teams are currently preparing for the Asian Championships next month while a senior women’s squad was recently formed for the 18th Asian Senior Women’s Championship next month in China.

A men’s Under-23 football team, meanwhile, missed the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar after failing to make the POC’s qualifying standard of sure gold or potential gold medalist despite the respectable finishes of the Azkals senior national team in the several regional events like the AFF Suzuki Cup.

There will be no women's football competition in this year's SEA Games.

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