MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s volleyball team has traveled to Japan for its two-week build-up for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May.
The women’s national team, led by captain Alyssa Valdez, left the country on Thursday afternoon for a 15-day training camp in Osaka.
The delegation, under coach Jorge Souza de Brito, left via Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong for a short layover before heading to Kansai International Airport in Osaka.
The Filipino spikers will face Japan V.League club Himeji Victorina for a series of scrimmages as they seek to end an 18-year medal drought in the SEA Games since winning bronze in the 2005 edition in Manila.
Joining Valdez are her Creamline teammates Tots Carlos, Jia De Guzman, Ced Domingo, Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao, and libero Kyla Atienza, who won the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference title without her due to a right knee injury.
Valdez, who is set to play her fifth straight SEA Games, returned to practice at Rizal Memorial Coliseum before leaving for Japan.
Mylene Paat, a third-time campaigner in the biennial meet, will also lead the team composed of Gel Cayuna, Chai Troncoso, Dell Palomata, Cherry Nunag, Kat Tolentino, and libero Bang Pineda, who was a late replacement for injured Kath Arado.
National Teams Commission chair Tonyboy Liao and De Brito’s coaching staff led by Creamline’s three-time PVL champion coach Sherwin Meneses, assistant coach Cherry Rose Macatangay, trainer Raffy Mosuela, strength and conditioning coach Grace Gomez, and team manager Ma. Fe Moran.
The women’s national team is returning to Japan for the second time since it trained in Tokyo in the 2019 edition when it was still under coach Shaq Delos Santos and the defunct federation Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc.
Valdez and Co., who are rare to reach the podium after back-to-back fourth-place finishes, were slated in Group B with Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore in the tournament starting on May 3 at Morodok Techo Elephant Hall.
The Philippine men’s volleyball team, led by Jau Umandal, also flew to Japan last Sunday, facing the Panasonic Panthers in a series of tune-up games.
The national beach volleyball teams will train in Brazil this month in their bid to surpass their two consecutive bronze medals in the past two editions.
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