Overseas training camp planned for PH volleyball teams ahead of SEA Games

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2021 03:57 PM

The Philippine volleyball teams are set to train abroad in order to prepare for the SEA Games. File photo. Eddy Phongphakthana, AVC.
The Philippine volleyball teams are set to train abroad in order to prepare for the SEA Games. File photo. Eddy Phongphakthana, AVC.

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine men's and women's volleyball teams will train abroad in preparation for their stint in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, the chief of the national federation announced.

Ramon "Tats" Suzara, the president of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF), bared plans to send the women's team to Brazil, while the men's team will train in Italy.

"Our players have to go to a training camp in Brazil before the SEA Games; 'yung men naman they are going to Italy before the SEA Games," Suzara said during this week's Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

Jorge Edson Souza de Brito, the coach of the women's team, is from Brazil.

According to Suzara, the overseas camps will serve to expose the Philippine national teams to a different brand of volleyball. In previous years, the national teams have trained in Asian countries such as Thailand or Japan.

"This is part of the exposure of our national team also, to travel to Europe na, to South America. Hindi na 'yung puro Asia. Kasi dati, puro Japan, Thailand, dito lang sa Asia," said Suzara.

"Ngayon, I want them to experience, to have a training camp in South America and Europe, para maiba naman ang ano nila," he explained. "There's something, a change for them, to play with South Americans and European teams during their training camp."

The federation is expecting the men's and women's teams for both indoor and beach volleyball to reach the finals of their events at the SEA Games, which will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam in May 2022.

The men's volleyball team is coming off a silver medal finish in the 2019 SEA Games at home, while both the men's and women's beach volleyball teams copped bronze. The women's indoor volleyball team missed the podium.

"I'm really targeting that our four national teams will reach the finals and play in the finals in the SEA Games," Suzara said.

The SEA Games is just one of many events that the Philippines will be part of in what is shaping up to be a busy 2022 for the volleyball federation. Both the men's and women's volleyball and beach volleyball teams are also set to play in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September.

There will also be the AVC Cup for Women, set for August 21-28 in San Fernando, Pampanga. The Philippines will also send representatives to the continental club volleyball championships, which is expected to take place ahead of the SEA Games.

The Philippines is also set to host Week 2 of the Volleyball Nations League for both men and women in June and early July next year.

Locally, the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) is expected to run from February 13 to April 3, based on the calendar of events released by the PNVF on Wednesday. 

The UAAP and the NCAA are also set to hold their own volleyball tournaments after having to suspend their competitions in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 PNVF CALENDAR

"We have fixed the calendar," Suzara assured. "This calendar should be followed, because the FIVB has strictly informed us to follow the FIVB calendar, so that our players can do their national team period. They can also play in the club period."

Suzara acknowledged that the federation has no control over the schedule of the UAAP and NCAA tournaments, and thus the national team players who are still playing collegiate volleyball may be unavailable for the overseas camps for the SEA Games as well as the biennial event itself.

The UAAP and NCAA are tentatively set to open their seasons in March 2022.

"The UAAP or NCAA players, because they might not be able to play in the SEA Games, it will be a pity, but again, I told our coaches to be ready, especially in the women's," said Suzara.

"If they cannot join sa SEA Games, they then can join sa Asian Cup and in the Asian Games. Because wala, the schedule of UAAP, of course that will be a priority for them. But it's too bad, they cannot join for the SEA Games," he added.

Several members of the women's national team pool are still in college, including libero Jennifer Nierva and spikers Eya Laure and Faith Nisperos. 

"If we have about eight UAAP players, there are another 12 players (left in the pool)," Suzara assured. "Maybe (we will) add two or four more players in the national team."

"We will just add, no more tryouts," he stressed. "Our coaches know already who will be in, who will be out."

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