National Team makes graceful exit

Wednesday, 02 Aug 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad

OSAKA, Japan — The national women’s volleyball team checked out of this enchanting city Tuesday carrying all the nuggets of wisdom it gained in the grueling 17-day training camp.

The Nationals wrapped up the camp with a 21-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-22 victory over Kansai University late Monday to boost their morale as they enter the final phase of their buildup for the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the Southeast Asian Games.

Frances Molina led the charge with four kills, four blocks and three aces for 11 points while Jaja Santiago delivered six kills, two aces and a block to finish with nine points for the national squad, which closed the camp with impressive wins over Kobe Shinwa Women’s University, Osaka Superiors and Kansai University.

The results in the past three days are positive developments, especially since the Nationals appeared rusty in the first leg of the camp in Okayama City.

Noted Japanese coach Akiyoshi Kawamoto presided the first week of training and worked on the blocking, floor defense and attack strategies of the Filipinos while scratching their “bad habits” on the court.

Although the Nationals lost five times to the elite Okayama Seagulls in lopsided fashions, it doesn’t really matter as the lessons they gained were so much worth it.

Head coach Francis Vicente beamed excitement over the improvement of his wards, but emphasized that the job is still far from over.

“The latest results show that this training camp has been very productive.”
“But it’s still a long way to go. We still have to work hard in the next few days and prepare for the real battle — the Asian Seniors and the SEA Games. It’s a tough task, but we’ll try our best to live above expectations.”

The Nationals will take a breather on Wednesday and Thursday, but will regroup on Friday and will be housed at the Orchid Hotel in Manila for their twice-a-day training at the Arellano School of Law gym in Pasay City.

They will check out on Aug. 7 and move to Crimson Hotel in Alabang, the official residence of the Asian Seniors that kicks off on Aug. 9 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan City and Muntinlupa Sports Center in Muntinlupa City.

“There will be no rest for us after this camp.

We’re now entering the final — and most crucial — stretch of our preparation. We have to keep the players together to put them in proper mindset as we approach the Asian Seniors.”