THE women’s national volleyball team won just a single set in a pair of tune-up games against the Gunma Bank Green Wings on Thursday at the Gunma GB Sports Center in Gunma Prefecture.
The Filipina Spikers traveled for two hours from Sagamihara for the tuneup, only to get annihilated by the Green Wings, 20-25, 19-25, 8-25, in their morning tuneup.
After lunch and a few hours of rest, Gunma Bank continued to dominate by winning the first three sets until the Nationals stole one with a better net and floor defense for a 16-25, 21-25, 20-25, 25-20 result.
National coach Shaq Delos Santos said his wards need to keep improving and make the most of their five tune-up games in their 12-day Tokyo training camp as part of their buildup for the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila next month.
“At least nakakita na ako ng improvement but, of course, hindi tayo pwedeng mag-stop dito,” said Delos Santos, who welcomed the arrival of Eya Laure, Jovelyn Gonzaga and assistant coach Kungfu Reyes early Thursday morning.
“Aral tayo ulit and ayusin natin ang mga mali natin,” he added.
The lopsided loss was no different to the results of a friendly against Kashiwa Angel Cross last Tuesday.
Asean Grand Prix two-time Best Middle Blocker Majoy Baron, skipper Aby Marano, Mylene Paat and Ces Molina anchored the defense in the fourth as the Filipinas built a 16-10 lead before Alyssa Valdez and Molina delivered the finishing touches.
Gunma Bank head coach head coach Isihara Akihisa said the Philippines has skilled players. But the Cuban-born mentor stressed that the Nationals have to work on their chemistry to be successful in SEA Games.
“The individual players have [great] potential. Their skills are very high. But on the court the six players must be coordinated. The combinations sometimes are not very good,” Akihisa said through an interpreter.
“We have this (chemistry) advantage on the court. The coordination and combination of the six players will help you a lot.”
The Filipinas will play Yamanashi Chuo Bank on Saturday. However, Valdez and setter Jia Morado will fly home on Friday to rejoin mother club Creamline in the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).