Mission’s not yet over for NT

Sunday, 27 Aug 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

KUALA LUMPUR – The Philippines suffered a painful four-set loss to Vietnam in the bronze-medal match of the 29th Southeast Asian Games women’s volleyball competition Sunday at the MITEC Hall 11 here.

But the mission is not yet OVER.

Head coach Francis Vicente said they would go back to the drawing board and evaluate everything that happened in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the SEA Games.

From there, they would slowly pick up the pieces and train again like good soldiers preparing for battle.

“This is not yet the end.”

“Our quest for gold will definitely not stop here. We will continue to work hard and do everything to reach our goal. We will never stop dreaming.”

Fresh start

An insider revealed that the national squad is headed for a fresh start.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said the 14-woman squad would still try its best to train regularly depending on its schedule.

Then, another team – a second or a youth team – will also be invited to increase the pool back to 25, or even, 30 players.

A top volleyball patron in Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano appeared to have validated that blueprint when he told the team that he would support the training and international exposure up to the 2019 SEA Games in Manila.

Cayetano will serve as chairman of the SEA Games Organizing Committee and he will leave no stone unturned in making sure that the country will win its first medal since the 2005 biennial meet also in Manila.

“That’s the plan.”

“It seems that everybody is on the same page in pushing through with the training and inviting additional players to increase the pool. It’s still a long way to go. Making it back to regional prominence is not an overnight process.”

The source said majority of the national team members wouldn’t get enough rest as they fly to Sisaket, Thailand on Sept. 2 to compete in the Thailand Invitationals, the same tourney where Foton campaigned last year.

Also set to see action in the tough tourney are that top four in the Thailand Volleyball League – Supreme Chonburi, Bangkok Glass, Nakhon Ratchasima and 3BB Nakornnont.

The tormentors of the Philippines squad – Vietnam national team – will also be seeing action to hike the number of competitors to six.

“We will not waste any time wallowing in sadness.”

“We will work hard and get as much (international) exposure as possible.”