(Mall of Asia Arena)
12 noon – Opening Ceremony
2 p.m. – Philippines vs Mongolia
4 p.m. – Vietnam vs Lebanon
2 p.m. – Turkmenistan vs Qatar
4 p.m. – Kazakhstan vs Hong Kong
6 p.m. – Papua New Guinea vs Taiwan
The Philippines-PLDT Home TVolution men’s volleyball team goes up against Mongolia’s Altain Bars Club today at the start of the Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Power Pinoys are hopeful that playing on home soil will give them an edge against the Mongolians in their 2 p.m. encounter.
A brief opening ceremony will precede the nine-day tournament, the first to be held in the Philippines.
Vietnam clashes with Lebanon at 4 p.m. while matches at the Cuneta Astrodome pit Turkmenistan and Qatar at 2 p.m.; Kazakhstan and Hong Kong at 4 p.m.; and Papua New Guinea and Taiwan at 6 p.m.
The Philippines and Mongolia are bracketed in Pool A along with Iraq. Other teams are many-time champion Iran, Japan, Lebanon and Vietnam in Pool B; runner-up Qatar, Kazakhstan, Oman, Hong Kong and Turkmenistan in Pool C; Taiwan, China, United Arab Emirates, and Papua New Guinea on Pool C.
The Power Pinoys are coming off a two-week training camp in Korea where they played 10 tune up matches.
“It’s a matter of doing hard work,” said coach Francis Vicente, whose team is competing for the first time in the tournament. “We’re fully aware of how strong all the teams are and we’re ready.”
The Philippine squad will be bannered by skipper Christian Fernandez and is composed of Jeffrey Malabanan, Ron Galang, JP and Peter Torres, Alnakran Abdilla, Jayson Ramos, Gilbert Longavela, Raffy Mosuela and actor Richard Gomez.
Reinforcing the squad are Australian players Cedric Legrand and William Robert Lewis.
The hosts face a Mongolian side that boasts of an average height of 6-foot-0 and spearheaded by team captain Munkhbayar Ariunbayar.
“It’s going to be very hard, we know that, but we have tall players,” said Ariunbayar. “But it’s a big opportunity for us because it’s also our first time.”