Saturday will be the start of the much anticipated AVC-Asian Women’s Club Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna. We will see our Foton team go up against a myriad of Asian teams from all over the region. If we don our coaching goggles on, we will be able to see the state of Philippine volleyball, and how we have progressed. What we might not be able to see is if Coach Menta has made an impact on his team yet. It has been only a few weeks, but I am optimistic of his ability.
That presscon of Foton gave me the chance to assess his philosophy. Just to remind everyone of what he wanted to improve on, was reception efficiency and offensive variety, one aspect obviously married to the other. There is no secret to volleyball, as the pass is the cornerstone, or building block of the game. The PSL has also addressed one issue of our local game, setting speed. They brought a Korean setting coach in to reinforce basics and form. Let us see how this all comes in to play out.
The Foton team has a great chance of coming out of our pool (A) unblemished. We are grouped with Vietnam and Hong Kong. Both teams play at our tempo, at least the HK team I saw in Thailand, and a video of the Vietnam team I watched. It will boil down to how we execute. HK is fielding a very young team, so they are in the building phase of their program, as we are also doing.
Pool B will see People’s Republic of Korea, fielding a military club team. Iran will be some of the taller opposition should we meet them later in the tournament, and the familiar Bangkok Glass. The Thais will dominate their pool by virtue of tempo alone.
Pool C will have an Indonesian team backed with two Thai imports, so we know they play up tempo too. Kazakhstan will be reinforced by a Cuban and Bulgarian import. This indicates they have a power game. Japan will be a team to watch as they have a system that intrigues me. I will touch on that later on. They have Olympic experience in their line-up, and generally have a great team concept style of play.
Pool D sees a small team in Taipei, so we can expect a fast tempo style. Malaysia is also fielding a team not too tall so we shall see the tempo at which they play. China will field a team that has height, experience and speed. We will see how we can match up to them later in the tourney.
Overall our Foton girls have a fighting chance to do well in this tournament. We certainly have the talent, and the pool to draw from. Let us get behind the PSL and Foton initiative to create a pool of players from which to draw a national team from. It has to start now. Thanks to tournaments like this, we can gauge ourselves against our Asian neighbors, see what needs fixing then address the issues. The initiative has been taken by the PSL and Foton, it is now time to come together and bring us back to being a powerhouse in Southeast Asia. Go Team Foton-Pilipinas!