Pinay spikers resume SEAG buildup, Mau, Baron, Valdez join Japan training camp
Pinay spikers resume SEAG buildup, Mau, Baron, Valdez join Japan training camp
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — In a bid to boost its chances of ending a 26-year gold medal drought, the 14-strong Philippine women’s volleyball team shifts to high gear starting today with a 12-day training camp in Japan as part of its final preparations for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Led by Fil-Am sensation Kalei Mau together with local aces Majoy Baron and Alyssa Valdez, the Nationals depart for Japan today and will stay there until Nov. 1 for a productive camp that includes six scrimmages against a local club and university squads.

Also in the Philippine delegation to Japan trip are captain Aby Maraño, Ces Molina, Rhea Dimaculangan, Dawn Macandili, Mylene Paat, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Maddie Madayag, Jia Morado, Mika Reyes and Kath Arado.

Eya Laure, who will be making her national team debut, is set to follow her teammates next Wednesday with assistant coach Kungfu Reyes owing to her academic duties at Santo Tomas.

Coach Shaq delos Santos is looking forward to the lessons they are set to acquire in this Japan camp that would only whip his squad into an even more formidable and cohesive unit for the SEA Games especially coming off a Thailand trip last month and back-to-back bronze medal finishes in the ASEAN Grand Prix.

“This camp is a big help for our preparations. We all know the caliber of volleyball teams in Japan so for sure, we will have a great experience there. We will learn a lot,” he said as the Nationals set their sights in reclaiming the SEAG volleyball title it last won in 1993.

The wards of Delos Santos will train at the Sagamitana High School and Kamimizo High School in Sagamihara, Japan, and will be up against six different foes down the stretch of this Japan camp, still over a month to go before the biennial sports tilt set Nov. 30 - Dec. 11.

The Phl squad will test its mettle in tune-up games against strong clubs Kashiwa Angel Cross, Yamanashi Chuo Bank, Gunma Bank Green Wings and Hitachi. The Nationals also get to tussle with Nittai University and Aoyama University.

After the camp, Delos Santos and the national team will return home to another warm-up tournament called Super Cup organized by the Philippine Superliga to help the squad’s SEA Games build-up.

In the Super Cup that is slated on Nov. 5 and 7, the Nationals will clash against two PSL selection squads Team Shine and Team Sparkle, and with a university team from Japan.

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