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    Blaze Spikers try to bounce back as they battle Azad University of Iran in Asian Women's Club volley tilt

    Sep 14, 2015
    Dindin Santiago and the Blaze Spikers try to avoid falling into a deep hole early in the tournament. Dante Peralta

    THE Filipina spikers marched to their match against Islamic Azad University looking to draw a huge game from Brazilian import Rupia Inck Furtado in the 2015 AVC Asian Women's Club Championship on Monday at the Ha Nam Competition Hall in Phu Ly, Vietnam.

    The Petron Blaze Spikers have their backs against the wall after absorbing a straight-set loss to 4.25 Sports Club of North Korea, 13-25, 18-25, 11-25, on opening day of this tournament that also serves as a qualifier to the FIVB World Club Championship next year.

    Petron coach George Pascua said he is looking for an improved performance from Furtado following a dismal showing in their previous outing where she was limited to only seven points in an hour and 14 minutes of action.

    "We had to make some major adjustments in our rotation to maximize the attacking prowess of Rupia," said Pascua, who shifted Furtado from opposite to open position to make it easier for her assert her presence offensively.

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    "Rupia is such a talented player. We know she's headed for a big game that's why we're giving her the opportunity to explode. We just have to be patient and wait for that big game to come."

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    Aside from shifting Furtado's position, Pascua added that they should also improve their reception, play more quick sets and strengthen their defense to counter the taller, stronger attackers from Iran, China and Japan.

    "We practically had no floor and net defense against North Korea," Pascua admitted. "That's why we have to improve our diagonal defense against Iran. We also have to come up with quick plays to elude their tall blockers."

    "Let's face it, winning over Iran is more realistic that winning over China or Japan," he added. "That's why we have to make these adjustments early in the tournament to at least come up with a finish that is better than last year."

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    Pascua is also banking on the troika of Dindin Manabat, Aby Marano and Rachel Anne Daquis to help Furtado in offense. Brazilian setter Erica Adachi, who came up with 53 excellent sets against North Korea, is also expected to wreak havoc and utilize the skills of the support crew like Frances Molina, Mina Aganon, Fille Cayetano and skipper Maica Morada.

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    Dindin Santiago and the Blaze Spikers try to avoid falling into a deep hole early in the tournament. Dante Peralta
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