After displaying incredible chemistry and familiarity in its first game, the national women’s volleyball team takes on a different challenge as it clashes with PSL Sparkle in the Philippine Superliga Super Cup today at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Action starts at 7 p.m. with the Nationals looking to tie up the loose ends in this series of friendly matches that serve as warmup tourney before they march to the 30th Southeast Asian Games that the country will host from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
In the first game, University of Tsukuba tests the mettle of PSL Shine following a dominant 25-8, 25-12, 25-20 win over PSL Sparkle in the opener of this pocket tournament that has Summit Hotel as official residence and Foton as official vehicle in cooperation with PSL clubs like Petron, Generika-Ayala, Cignal, Sta. Lucia, PLDT Home Fibr, F2 Logistics and Marinerang Pilipina.
But all eyes will be on the Nationals.
Despite the absence of Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado, the national squad still delivered an impressive performance to post a 25-14, 25-18, 25-16 victory over a very competitive PSL Shine squad that is powered by MJ Philips, Denden Lazaro, Remy Palma and Ria Meneses.
Mylene Paat delivered eight points while Ces Molina and Majoy Baron chipped in significant numbers for the Nationals, who displayed good chemistry at the defensive end with Maddie Madayag and Aby Maraño at the helm.
Head coach Shaq Delos Santos liked what he saw, but asserted that reaching their peak form remains a work in progress with barely three weeks left before the biennial meet fires off at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
“Of course, we’re happy with the win, but we’re still a work in progress,” said Delos Santos, the noted Petron coach who is anticipating for the “real test” against the college girls from Tsukuba, the reigning champions in the All-Japan Intercollegiate League on Friday.
“Despite having some absences, the rest of the team still helped each other and that is all that matters.”
Meanwhile, Tsukuba head coach Nakanashi Yasumi stressed that PSL Sparkle pushed them to their limits so they are bracing for an all-our battle with PSL Shine.
“We just got lucky on our first day because PSL Sparkle didn’t have combination plays,” said Yasumi, noting the selection team’s lack of cohesiveness and familiarity.
“We took advantage of that and, fortunately, we won.”