Barueri, Brazil, April 27, 2022 – The Philippine national women’s volleyball team is close to wrapping up its training camp here designed to put the country on the medal podium of the fast approaching 31st Southeast Asian Games.

With just two days of workouts left before heading back to Manila, Philippine National Volleyball Federation executive board member Tony Boy Liao is convinced that the women’s squad has accomplished its chief objective in the two-week camp of playing as one cohesive unit.

“They are really playing well as a team despite the limited time that they trained. And the longer they train, the more cohesive this team will be,” said Liao, the PNVF national team chairperson.

The PH spikers will return to Manila on Friday, rest over the weekend and immediately plunge back to their twice-a-day practice sessions on May 2. They are expected to be in Hanoi, Vietnam for the SEA Games on May 10.

“You can really see the improvement. This training camp really served its purpose. They came from different clubs (in the Premier Volleyball League) and now they train competitively together,” said Liao, the team manager for the entire duration of the camp.

“Hopefully we can get a medal in the SEA Games, but it will be much better if we can play in the finals,” added Liao.

Immediately after the PVL early this month, Brazilian head coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito finalized the composition of the team with veterans Aby Marano, Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago joining fellow women’s volley celebrities Jema Galanza, Ces Molina, opposite hitters Kat Tolentino and Mylene Paat.

Setters Kyle Negrito and Iris Tolenada have been likewise playing harmoniously with middle blockers Dell Palomata, Ria Meneses, Majoy Baron and liberos Dawn Macandili and Kath Arado since they arrived here at the Sportville camp almost two weeks back.

According to Liao, this is the first time the national team was brought to Brazil, a powerhouse country in volleyball, to train since previous training camps were held in China, Japan or Thailand.

“I told them to always be confident and play with your heart. This is for the country and not for themselves,” said Liao during his pep talk before leaving for Manila on Monday.

The national squad won its three last tuneup matches—once against club team Sesi Sorocaba and twice over the Barueri Volleyball Club under-21 team on their home court—in the camp organized by the PNVF headed by its president Ramon “Tats” Suzara with the support of the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Rebisco, PLDT and the City of Taguig.

The women spikers lost the first of their four tuneups against Sao Caetano, which they played less than 24 hours upon the team’s arrival from a long journey from Manila.

Assisting de Brito are coaches Odjie Mamon, Grace Antigua, Raffy Mosuela, Tina Salak and physical therapist Grace Gomez.

“The coaches have done a very good job of putting this team together. Sana hanggang sa SEA Games tuloy-tuloy na ang ganyang cohesiveness,” said Liao, a certified winner with three UAAP women’s volley titles for La Salle and two for Ateneo as team manager.

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