By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Starting their 16-day international training camp, the Philippine national men’s volleyball team clashed with Division 2 team Saitama Azalea and got swept in straight sets, 20-25, 23-25, 23-25.
Despite the sweeping loss, the coaching staff of the national team led by head coach Dante Alinsunurin still applauded his squad, stating that getting close with that kind of team and the way they fought hard every possession was highly appreciated and is a good start for their training camp.
Their training camp just started, and facing a team like Saitama is a good way to pinpoint team miscommunications and weaknesses, Alinsunsurin added.
Returning star Marck Espejo spearheaded the PH offense, surprising the Japanese squad with his insane variety of ways to score.
The team fought hard and kept up with the fast-paced Japanese squad, keeping it close in every set but just fell short to close.
“Nandoon naman yung gusto naming mangyare, yung sistema kasi nila talagang mabilis, yung adjustment (namin) mabagal. Lumalabas pa rin yung unforced errors namin like yung service namin halos nag-error kami ng seven to eight points.”Alinsunsurin said in an interview.
The PH squad will continue their training camp and will return after two weeks for final preparations in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.