MANILA, Philippines -- The national beach volleyball teams expect to put up a good fight in the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup, set for next month in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
The event serves as a qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics. Both the men's and women's beach volleyball teams of the Philippines secured their spots in the Continental Cup by virtue of their third place finishes in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
"Ang laban namin doon, it's the first step para makita namin 'yung makakalaban namin sa international, lalong-lalo na this coming SEA Games," said Rhovyl Verayo, who coaches the men's beach volleyball team.
"So expect pa rin na magpe-perform ang team namin nang maayos sa Continental Cup. Hopefully makapasok kami ng finals," he added.
Paul Jan Doloiras, who handles the women's team, believes they have a good shot to advance to the finals as well.
"Sa amin naman po sa women's, siguro may nakita po namin 'yung chance kasi apat lang kami doon," he said. "Kailangan lang makakuha ng dalawang panalo."
"Excited na rin naman 'yung mga bata na maglaro. So may chance po na makapasok," he added.
The Philippine teams face tall odds in the Continental Cup. They are seeded in the semifinals of the competition, with only one team advancing to the final phase. The men's team have to battle four other squads, while the women's team is in a four-team pool.
If they advance to the final phase, they will compete against seven other countries for the lone Olympic berth at stake in the event.
Despite the tough challenge, the national team coaches believe it will be a good experience for their players especially as they try to build on their performances from the SEA Games in 2019. Both national teams had won bronzes in the event held in Subic.
A strong showing in the Continental Cup will hopefully propel the men's and women's beach volleyball teams to even better results in the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam later this year.
"Ang expectation namin this coming SEA Games is maitaas pa namin ang medal namin na bronze," Verayo said. "Hopefully we can make it silver and gold."
"Pilitin namin abutin 'yung silver and gold pa rin. Siyempre, 'yun 'yung goal namin kasi nag-bronze na kami. Nakita na namin 'yung labanan, so ngayon talagang pinaghahandaan na namin 'yun," said Doloiras.
The men's and women's beach volleyball teams are expected to hold a training camp in Ilocos Norte this week to prepare for the Continental Cup.
The Philippine National Volleyball Federation last week unveiled the members of the beach volleyball team pools, bannered by the bronze medal winners from the 2019 SEA Games.
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