PSL stars to put best effort vs Thai NT

Thursday, 07 Sep 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Photo courtesy of SMM Volleyball Facebook Page

The Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Star squad coasted to a straight-set victory over Rangsit University in the 2017 Annual Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Cup Volleyball Tournament Wednesday in Sisaket, Thailand.

National team members Mika Reyes, Aby Marano and Jovelyn Gonzaga came up with a gallant stand as the Filipinas overcame a jittery first set en route to the emphatic victory.

With the win, the PSL stars booked a semifinal duel against unbeaten PEA-Sisaket, the home squad that is powered by Pleumjit Thinkaow, Nootsara Tomkom and the core of the Thailand national team on Thursday.

Head coach Shaq Delos Santos knows that winning over the Thais is an enormous task, but they would deliver their best effort to come up with a good fight.

A victory by the Filipinos will send them to the finals against the survivor in the semifinal battle between Bangkok Glass and Khonkaen Star VC.

“We will go out there and play our hearts out.”

“We’re not promising a victory since our team was just assembled few days ago. But we will try our very best to come up with a good fight. We will put everything we learned on the court and hopefully translate it into victory.”

Delos Santos added that the team would be marching with high morale after that impressive victory over Rangsit University.

“Rangsit players were very good. They were very quick. That’s why winning over them boosted our morale entering our semifinal match against PEA-Sisaket.”

Super team

PEA-Sisaket is coming in as a heavy favorite.

Prized middle blocker Thinkaow, the skipper of the Thai national team, is leading the charge as well as Tomkom, who is regarded as Asia’s best playmaker.

Also in the squad are veteran international campaigners in Wilavan Apinyapong and Ajcharaporn Kongyot.

The squad quartet is still fresh from competing in the World Grand Prix before leading the Thais to a runner-up finish in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and a gold-medal performance in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

On the other hand, six players of the PSL selection campaigned for the Philippine national team that finished eighth in the Asian Seniors and fourth in the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur recently.

That’s why Delos Santos is taking advantage of this golden opportunity.

“It’s not every day that you get to play against a super team like the Thailand national team.”

“We will try our best to give everybody a chance to play and learn from the Thais. Hopefully, our players, especially those in the national team, will learn a lot from this exposure and use it in future international tournaments.”

“We will give our best effort, maximize this opportunity and enjoy every minute of it.”

Match between the PSL stars and PEA-Sisaket begins at 5 pm (Manila time).