Men’s NT faces biggest challenge

Tuesday, 01 Aug 2017
Nads Ong - Correspondent - @nadineisreal

12 days had already passed since the men’s national volleyball team flew to Suwon, South Korea for a training camp in preparation for the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

But the squad has yet to reach its maximum potential.

The Nationals bannered by team captain John Vic De Guzman and Reyson Fuentes train twice a day from the time they started the camp abroad. They have conditioning, weights, and endurance training in the morning then a tune-up game in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, all of the seven tune-up games they played with the Korean Under-19 squad, Korean Universiade, and club team Hwasung City resulted to defeat.

They badly want to win a match.

But those practice games only uncovered their weak points that need to be addressed before heading into the biennial meet slated from August 19 to 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Korean Universiade head coach Jongchan Park told the Nationals that they have the deadly brew of height and talent, but they are overlooking the basics of the sport.

He reiterated that the home team has to master the basics more than anything else.

“The thing is, the basic training has to improve, all the basics.”
“Your team has the potential but you need more training, definitely. Train harder, you guys have very big potential to improve in the future based on your training.”
“But again the most important thing is for you to have more basic training.”

These motivating words from the Korean mentor were supposed to boost the morale of the Nationals when they return to training Monday after taking a breather over the weekend.

However, they failed to deliver.

Disappointed

Head coach Sammy Acaylar was hugely disappointed as his wards were inactive and out of focus when they had their usual morning grind Monday. He even cut their morning drills short and gave them a terrible tongue-lashing.

But the Nationals were simply not responding as they absorbed another five-set loss to Korean Under-19 squad, 9-25, 14-25, 15-25, 21-25, 26-28, Tuesday at the Sungkyunkwan University Gym.

“I’m disappointed, of course.”

Despite all these adversities, the known disciplinarian mentor, Acaylar, refused raise the white flag.

He said these challenges will serve as a learning experience to develop the fighting heart of his team.

“I’m thinking of solutions for the lapses of my team.”
“Ang gusto ko lang na ma-develop na character ng team ay ‘yung hindi sila maggi-give up sa mga nangyayari ngayon. Nandito kami sa training camp to learn more.”

Acaylar knows that it’s a long way to go.

But they’re willing to learn from these early setbacks.

“This is a challenge for me and challenge for my team sa SEA Games and I hope matuto sila. I hope na ‘yung urge nila na gustong lumaro, gustong manalo nandoon pa rin at di nawawala.”

The Nationals will break the camp on Thursday. They will depart from Incheon Airport at 8:35 p.m. (Korea time) via PR 469 and will arrive at 11:55 p.m. (Manila time).