NAKHON RATCHASIMA -THE Philippine team marks its return to major international competition when it plunges into action in the 17th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship that kicks off today.
The Power Pinays make their debut against India in one of eight matches scheduled on opening day in two separate venues, marking the first time the country is participating in the biennial meet since 2005 when it finished ninth out of 12 teams in Taicang, China.
Coach Nes Pamilar knows the tough task at hand, and is aware of how significant the Power Pinays’ opening game will be against India, currently ranked 11th in the tournament.
“Marami silang (India) international exposure, kaya we have to be at our best,” said Pamilar of their opponents whom the Filipina spikers beat in straight sets in their first and only meeting in the Asian tournament in 2005 during the classification phase.
The Power Pinays, whose trip here is sponsored by PLDT Home Fibr broadband, arrived in this city commonly known as Korat on Wednesday night after a three-hour flight from Manila to Bangkok and another three-hour travel by land.
Team skipper Angeli Tabaquero and the rest of the Power Pinays trained twice on Thursday and then attended the welcome dinner tendered for all the 16 participating teams.
After India, the Power Pinays, ranked 16th , take on No. 8 Iran on Saturday, before wrapping up their preliminary round campaign in Pool B against defending champion and 12-time winner China on Sunday.
The Philippines, whose best finish in the meet was fifth place in 1983 in Fukuoka, Japan, will advance to the quarterfinals should it win two of its three preliminary matches.
Aside from Tabaquero, also in the team are Jheck Dionela, Faye Guevara, Wenneth Eulalio, Michelle Datuin, Sandra delos Santos, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Honey Rose Tubino, Joy Benito, Pau Soriano, Rosemarie Vargas, Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone, Angela Benting, May Macatuno, Arianne Argarin, Chie Saet, and Danika Gendrauli.
The rest of the opening day schedule will have Korea going up against Myanmar, Sri Lanka versus Chinese-Taipei, Indonesia up against Hong Kong, Australia taking on Mongolia, Thailand battling Kazakhstan, Japan opposite Vietnam, and China meeting Iran.
Pool A is comprised of Thailand, Australia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan, Pool C includes Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and Hong Kong, while Korea, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, and Myanmar are in Pool D.