THE Philippine volleyball team hopes the short training stint recently in Korea would give them a big boost as the Power Pinoys battle the continent’s best in Asian Men's Volleyball Club Championship for the very first time starting Tuesday at the MOA Arena.
Up first for the Philippines PLDT HOME TVolution team is Mongolia right after the opening ceremony set at 12 p.m.
The team will be led by JP Torres, Ron Jay Galang, Jeffrey Malabanan, Alnakran Abdilla, and actor-sportsman Richard Gomez.
Australian players Cedric Legrand and William Robert Lewis were tapped as reinforcements for the team coached by Francis Vicente.
“We played against strong club teams that accommodated our request in Korea and the coaching staff is pleased by the performance of the team. We have formed a cohesive squad which values team play very highly,” Vicente said.
Although the team is well prepared and players have vowed to give it their all, Vicente cautioned against high expectations as they face a tall order against teams from many-time champion Iran, and regional powerhouse squads China and Korea.
The Philippines is competing for the very first time in the AMCC, which is being presented this year by PLDT Home Fibr.
Also vying for honors are Iraq, Japan, Lebanon, Vietnam, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Oman, Hong Kong, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Papua New Guinea and Chinese Taipei.
“Our target is to advance to the next round and then we’ll see how far we could gain. The country’s volleyball program has only been revived but our faith in this team could not be shaken. Our men will make us proud despite the challenges they’ll be facing from the strong field,” Juico said.
The tournament organized by a team led by former Philippine Sports Commission chairman Philip Ella Juico in partnership with Sportscore and the Philippine Volleyball Federation runs until April 16.
PSC Chairman Ricardo Garcia is the guest of honor and main speaker of the short program to be attended by the country’s top sports officials and representatives from the Asian Volleyball Confederation including AVC Chairman Hyungbin Yim and his entourage Tetsuya Ozaki (president, Senoh Equipment-Japan), Masahiro Masuoka, (International Maketing Manager, Senoh Equipment-Japan), among others.
The AVC leaders will also attend the welcome dinner set Monday at Alphaland Makati Place.
Matches of the Philippine Team will be televised live on TV5, the official broadcast partner of the AMCC. The tournament also has Magic 89.9, Wave 89.1, Jam 88.3, Play 99.5 and KLite 103.5 as radio partners.
The tournament is backed by Mikasa, Healthway Medical, Maynilad, Gerflor Spurway, Senoh Equipment, STI, PSC, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto and MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino.