PSL-F2 Logistics Manila is looking to capture its first victory in the world stage when it faces Bangkok Glass in the classification battle for 7th to 8th places of the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It’s going to be a tough journey as the Thais will be marching as Asian champions after clobbering Hisamitsu Springs in a thrilling five-set battle in the finals of the AVC Women’s Club Championship last year in Vietnam.
But PSL-F2 Logistics Manila coach Moro Branislav strongly believes that Bangkok Glass is breakable.
Branislav said they have a very realistic chance of notching their first victory in this prestigious tournament after showing impressive performance against high-caliber teams like Rexona-Sesc Rio of Brazil, Pomi Casalmaggiore of Italy, Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul of Turkey and Hisamitsu Springs Kobe of Japan.
Against Eczacibasi, the home squad pushed it to the limit and won the third set before completely collapsing.
Although it rested its star-studded core of Jordan Larson-Burbach, Tijana Boskovic, Tatiana Kosheleva, Rachel Adams and Thaisa Daher Pallesi, it fielded its second team that is composed of the stars of the Turkish national team.
Branislav said after gaining enough confidence, enough motivation against the world’s best spikers, it’s about time for them to hammer a victory.
[quote]I respect Bangkok Glass, but in my opinion, there is a big chance for us to win tomorrow. This will be the first time in history that one Philippine team will be able to win in a world club competition.[/quote]
Branislav is right: Bangkok Glass could be beatable.
After all, this is the same core that the Petron-PSL All-Star squad of Rachel Anne Daquis, Frances Molina, Aby Marano and Cha Cruz stunned in the first set of their match in the Thai-Denmark Super League in Bangkok earlier this year.
The PSL stars lost the match, but it sent a strong message that they can handle a formidable, import-powered squad even with an all-Filipina crew.
Aside from that, Branislav is also very familiar with the brand of game of the Thai club after steering April 25 Sports Club of North Korea in its campaign in the AVC Asian Women’s Club tournament for the past couple of years.
In fact, in the previous AVC battle, Branislav’s squad refused to be dominated by the Thais as it won the third set before surrendering the victory.
He said so much would be at stake in this battle because the Filipinos will be powered by seven imports and are hungry to finally claim their first victory in the world stage. They also have the home court advantage and the support of the massive home crowd.
[quote]Tomorrow’s game against Bangkok is very important. I believe in my players. There is a big chance to win or get better plays.[/quote]
Yes, Bangkok Glass may look fragile and breakable, but still, it wouldn’t be easy.
[quote]We have to come up with a lot of combination plays tomorrow. We have to train hard and prepare for this match. This is a rare moment for Philippine volleyball. It’s now or never.[/quote]
It looks like Branislav is saving the best for last.