THE Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship, presented by PLDT Home Fibr, opens today at two separate venues as the Philippines returns to the Asian scene for the first time in more than a decade.
Backstopped by Australian standouts Cedric Legrand and William Robert Lewis, the Philippines’ Home TVolution Team starts its campaign against Mongolia at 2 p.m at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, preceding the second match pitting Duc Long Gia Lai of Vietnam versus Zahraa Al Minaa of Lebanon.
Games will also be played at the Cuneta Astrodome with Turkmenistan taking on Qatar in the 2 p.m. opener, followed by Kondensat-Zhaikmunay of Kazakhstan against Green Dragon of Hong Kong and the Amoa NCD of Papua New Guinea-Chinese Taipei tiff.
Actor-sportsman Richard Gomez is undoubtedly one of the attractions as he sees action for the Philippines, along with other Filipino standouts, who made the team after a stringent selection process.
Fresh from a short training stint in Korea, the Power Pinoys are tipped as a surprise package. Making up the core are JP Torres, Ron Jay Galang, Jeffrey Malabanan, Alnakran Abdilla, Gomez and team captain Ian Fernandez .
National mentor Francis Vicente knows the tough task at hand.
“I’m fully aware that if we lose, we will have a slim chance of making it to the Top 8,” said Vicente during the pre-tournament press conference graced by Philippine Super Liga president Ramon Suzara, PVF president Carl Chan and secretary-general Ottie Camangian in Makati. “We will try our best to win our games. It’s all about hard work.”
The Philippine side really has to put up a lot work especially since the Mongolians have the height advantage in their opening tiff of this tourney backed by Mikasa, Healthway Medical, Maynilad, Gerflor Spurway, Senoh Equipment, STI, PSC, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto and MMDA Chairman Atty. Francis Tolentino.
“This match is very hard,” said Mongolia coach Arunbayar Munkbayar through an interpreter. “Our advantage is our height. Let’s see what will happen. We’ll give them a good fight.”
After Mongolia, the Philippines will take on South Gas Sports Club of Iraq at 2 pm tomorrow in Group A. Kuwait was also supposed to be bracketed with Mongolia, Iraq and the host country but withdrew from participation last week after it failed to get the nod of its federation.
All games by the Philippine Team, also known as the Power Pinoys or the PLDT HOME TVolution team, will be televised live on TV5, the official broadcast partner of the AMCC. The tournament also has Magic 89.9, Wave 89.1, Jam 88.3, Play 99.5 and KLite 103.5 as radio partners.