The Philippine men’s volleyball team seeks more experience in its upcoming training in Qatar when it guns for another podium finish in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May.
Though team coach Dante Alinsunurin is not making any predictions, the veteran mentor aims a better showing after a historic silver-medal finish in the 2019 edition that the country hosted.
“We’re thankful and honored na mabigyan ng pagkakataong makapag-train abroad. Marami pa rin kaming dapat ayusin because siyempre, lahat naman tayo nagdaan sa pandemic,”said Alinsunurin, whose team is leaving for the Middle East nation on March 20.
The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) had initially planned to send them to training in Europe, but pandemic restrictions halted this program.
Still, training in Qatar will give the men’s team the same high intensity training as they are set to play tuneup matches against local club teams.
“Twice a day training tapos tuneup matches, yun ang plano namin,” Alinsunurin said.
"Service receive mostly dun kami nagkukulang. So hopefully maayos namin to sa training sa Qatar."
Seventeen athletes are going to Qatar that include Mark Alfafara, Angelo Almendras, JP Bugaoan, Kim Dayandante, Johnvic De Guzman, Joeven Dela Vega, Rex Intal, Lloyd Josafat, Jack Kalingking, Jessie Lopez, Kim Malabunga, Isay Marasigan, Ish Polvorosa, Josh Retamar, Francis Saura, Manuel Sumanguid, and Joshua Umandal.
Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who are also part of the SEAG pool, might join on a later date due to their ongoing commitments with their club teams in Japan.