Philippine Volleyball is definitely back! After years and years of absence in international competitions, our homegrown players are going to get enough exposure and experience as the country is all set to join several high-level tournaments this 2017. Coming off participation in one or two regional competitions in the past years and the successful hosting of FIVB Women’s Club World Championships and Asian Women’s Club Championships, the Philippines is joining not one, not two but five tournaments this year.
Last February 27, 2017, drawing of lots ceremony was held in Bangkok, where the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) is headquartered, to determine the draws for the different Volleyball competitions this year. Six (6) draws were done out of the eight (8) tournaments spread in the calendar. The two (2) that were not drawn on that day have already been undertaken and determined in an earlier undisclosed date. They are the Asian Girls’ U-18 and the Asian Boys’ U-19 which are set to take place in March-April.
Here are the following tournaments that the Philippines is set to participate in:
2nd Asian Men’s U-23 Championship in Ardabil, Iran
Venue/Date: Ardabil, Iran from May 1 to 9
Pool A: Iran (host), Philippines, Pakistan
2nd Asian Women’s U-23 Championship
Venue/Date: Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand from May 13 to 21
Pool D: Philippines, Iran, Malaysia, New Zealand
2017 Asian Women’s Club Championship
Venue/Date: Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan from May 25 to 31
Pool B: Japan, China, Vietnam, Philippines (Foton)
19th Asian Senior Women’s Championship
Venue/Date: Manila, Philippines from Aug 9 to 17
Pool A: Philippines (host), Kazakhstan, Hong Kong
29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games
Venue/Date: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Aug 19 to 31
Pool to be determined
The Philippines is not joining two men’s tournaments namely:
- Asian Men’s Club Championship in Vietnam
- Asian Senior Men’s Championship in Indonesia
Men’s club competition and the Philippine men’s national team are not as organized as the women’s side. However, the country is joining the men’s under-23 tournament in Iran. No word yet as to the coaches and players who are going to the U-23 tourney but most likely a combination of UAAP and NCAA players.
In 2015, the Philippines hosted the first ever Under 23 Championship for Women bannered by UAAP and NCAA players like Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado, and Grethcel Soltones. In 2017, it is expected that participants will come from both local leagues as well. Our Filipina volleybelles will have stiff tussle with Iran in this group and should have fairly easy clash with the Malaysians and the New Zealanders.
Foton Pilipinas won their second PSL Grand Prix title in 2016 and they will have another chance to go up against the best in Asian Women’s Club Volleyball circuit.Tough draw for the Foton Tornadoes as they are grouped with defending champions Japan, runner-up China, and Vietnam. They should pick imports who can carry the team offensively if they want to have a fighting chance against the best in the region.
The country will once again play host to Asian Senior Women’s Championship which we last hosted in 1997. This is a competition for national teams in the Asian region – meaning, no imports will be allowed – and will also serve as a prelude to Southeast Asian Games volleyball competition all happening in the month of August.
It’s delightful to see the Philippines finally rising back from the dead. Our volleyball program have been dormant for a long time and it’s only fitting that with this resurgence, our country is going to participate in at least five tournaments. The road to gaining back the supremacy in the SEA region may take long but with small baby steps, we can get there in time.
Photo courtesy of Kath Zamora and Volleyball PH Facebook Page