THE Philippines will have one less opponent to worry about in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship presented by PLDT Home Fibr firing off on April 8-16 at the MOA Arena and the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City with the pullout of the Kuwaiti team.
The Alsahel Sports Club of Kuwait has informed the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC), through executive director Liu Jun, that it is withdrawing from the tournament after the club failed to secure clearance from the Kuwait Public Authority for Youth and Sports.
The withdrawal letter was signed by Secretary General Abdullah K. Alenezi.
Kuwait was drawn with the Philippines, playing in this prestigious tournament for the very first time, in Group A along with Iraq and Mongolia.
Aside from Kuwait, the club team from India had also expressed its regret for not being able to join the meet. India was supposed to play in Group D with powerhouse China, the United Arab Emirates, Papua New Guinea and Chinese Taipei.
“It is unfortunate that withdrawals should come at this very late stage when everything is set and ready for the Asian Men's Club Championship,” said Ramon 'Tats' Suzara, part of the organizing Sportscore and a top official of the AVC.
"But the league will continue on with 16 teams and four groups, which is still a very impressive count,” he added.
National coach Francis Vicente, who is currently training his athletes in Korea, said the changes will give his wards better chances at advancing into the next round.
Regional powerhouses Iran and Japan, together with Lebanon and Vietnam, are in Group B while Group C features last year's runners-up, Qatar and Kazakhstan, along with Oman, Hong Kong and Turkmenistan.
The Philippines will be represented by the PLDT HOME TVolution team, also known as the Power Pinoys composed of JP Torres, Ron Jay Galang, Jeffrey Malabanan, Alnakran Abdilla, and actor-sportsman Richard Gomez. Australian players Cedric Legrand and William Robert Lewis will reinforce the Philippine team.
The tournament is backed by Mikasa, Healthway Medical, Maynilad, Gerflor Spurway, Senoh Equipment, STI, PSC, Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto and MMDA Chairman Atty. Francis Tolentino.
Tickets are now available online at http://www.smtickets.com/ and all SM ticket outlets.