Pinays face tough task against powerhouse Japan, Chinese-Taipei in second phase of Asian U23 meet
Regardless of placing after the preliminaries, the Philippines will end up grouped with Japan and Chinese Taipei. Freddie Dionisio

THE Philippines faces an enormous task of going deep even further to the tournament as it faces powerhouse team Japan and Chinese Taipei in the next phase.

After winning over Kazakhstan on Saturday to book a place in the next round, the Philippines still stands a chance of gaining the No. 1 spot in Pool A of the 2015 Asian Under-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship if a three-way tie occurs at the end of group play on Sunday.

[See Philippine Under-23 team overcomes late drama to beat Kazakhstan, reach quarters]

According to the official statistics provider of the tournament, TMX Sports, the Philippines will automatically gain the top spot in Pool A if Kazakhstan beats Iran in four or five sets. A Kazakhstan win over Iran in three sets will also move the Philippines to No. 1 but that depends on the set scores of the match. In that case, a quotient system will be used.

The Filipinas, however, will most likely slide to No. 2 if Iran wins over Kazakhstan.

Still, being No. 1 or No. 2 doesn’t keep the Philippines from facing Japan and Chinese Taipei, which are expected to emerge from Pool C at the end of the preliminaries. The top two teams in Pool A and C will form Pool E in the second round.

[See Philippine Under-23 coach Roger Gorayeb tells players: 'Lay off social media']

“It will be a very, very, very, very tough match either Japan or Chinese Taipei,” said national coach Roger Gorayeb.

“Pakulam man namin sila, malakas pa rin sila,” Gorayeb said, drawing laughs from reporters during the post-match press conference.

There’s nowhere to go but up for the Philippine team as they continue their quest in the competition. Gorayeb only wants his wards to play their best against Asia’s powerhouse.

“Ang gusto namin, ’yung mga bata maglaro pa rin sa ganoong level. Makalaban lang tayo doon, okay na, kasi unang-una, the odds were against us. Napunta kami sa malalaking team tapos sa schedule, hindi namin na-scout pareho ‘yung Iran at Kazakhsatn,” said Gorayeb.

[See Super-sub Myla Pablo delivers huge in surprise start, repays faith of Philippine team coaches]

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