The Philippine men’s national volleyball team goes under the microscope when it clashes with the national team of Macau in a pocket tournament at the Imus City Sports Complex from July 12 to 14.
Bannered by captain Johnvic de Guzman and Reyson Fuentes, the Nationals are tipped to go hard against the spikers from the former Portuguese colony, who share the same FIVB ranking with them at 137th.
Aside from Macau, also seeing action are the varsity of University of Perpetual Help and the selection squad of Imus City, which recently bagged the Cavite Inter-town title.
The tourney is a project of Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) in cooperation with the Philippine Superliga (PSL) and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
LVPI acting president Peter Cayco said they exhausted all efforts to invite a foreign team for a friendly match to gauge the team’s level of preparation before it embarks on a grueling 15-day training in Suwon, South Korea starting July 20.
PSL president Ramon Suzara, a ranking executive in the Asian Volleyball Confederation, was instrumental in inviting the Macau squad.
He said this tourney would serve as a “test event” for the possible staging of a men’s tournament, which the league last organized three years ago.
Bracing for war
National team head coach Sammy Acaylar said they are eyeing nothing but the title.
De Guzman, arguably the face of men’s volleyball in the country today, will be in deadly form as well as veterans Alnakran Abdilla, Mark Alfafara, Herschel Ramos, Bryan Bagunas and Fuentes.
He said the squad is ready and is training six times a week with a three-hour scrimmage every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and weights training every Tuesday and Thursday.
They also run in the track oval of Rizal Memorial Sports Complex to enhance their stamina.
Acaylar noted that the Korean training would be a major boost to their training as they will get to face the best university and club teams there.
But before that, they have to overcome the gutsy Macau squad.