Dawn Macandili tapped to replace injured Denden Lazaro on Philippine women's volleyball team to SEA Games
Dawn Macandili is set to see action for the Philippines in the KL SEAG after playing in the Asian Women's Championship. Jaime Campos

THE Philippine women's team has tapped Dawn Macandili as libero for the 29th Southeast Asian Games, replacing Denden Lazaro.

Head coach Francis Vicente said it was a decision discussed by the coaching staff before he informed the organizers during the preliminary inquiry on Saturday after their flight from Manila.

The main reason for the change, according to Vicente, was Lazaro's hamstring injury suffered during the exhibition match Battle of the Rivals a day before the team left for a 17-day training camp in Japan.

“We know kung gaano siya nagtrabaho and nakita ko ang eagerness niya in representing the country in this tournament, but her health is our top priority," said Vicente.

"Crucial ang role niya sa national team in the next three years and ayaw na natin na maaggravate pa ang injury niya kung isasabak na natin siya dito sa SEA Games.”

Lazaro, who saw action in the 2015 edition of the biennial meet in Singapore, will join Kim Dy at the sidelines.

The Philippines is looking to win a volleyball medal for first time since the country bagged bronze as hosts of the 2005 SEA Games.

The Filipinas will face Malaysia on Friday and Vietnam on Saturday in the pool stage. 

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