MANILA, Philippines – Armed with its two-week training in Seoul, South Korea, the Philippines PLDT Home Tvolution seeks to open its campaign with a bang as it faces off with unpredictable Mongolia in Tuesday's start of the PLDT Home Fibr 2014 Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championships at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
"We've learned a lot in our training in Korea and we hope to use it in this tournament," said Phl coach Francis Vicente in Monday's media briefing at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City.
The Filipinos are eyeing no less than a victory against the Mongolians since the winner will close in a spot in the quarters.
Another triumph over Iraq South Gas Club Sports on April 10 also at the MOA Arena will send the Filipinos straight to the next round.
And Vicente knows how important a win over Mongolia is.
"It's practically do-or-die each and every game," said Vicente, who has a favorable draw after his team was bracketed in Group A with Mongolia, Iraq and Kuwait, which eventually withdrew in the last minute, leaving that group with just three teams.
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Phl team captain Christian Fernandez said their chemistry will be key.
"We just need to play as a team and in harmony for us to have a chance in this tournament," said Fernandez.
Aussies Cedric Legrand and William Robert Lewis will reinforce the Nationals, which will also be spiced up with the presence of popular television and 47-year-old movie celebrity Richard Gomez, who will serve his fourth tour of duty with the national team being a former national fencer, shooter and rowing.
The rest of the PLDT Home TVolution-bankrolled team include JP Torres, Ronjay Galang, Jeffrey Malabanan, Alnakaran Abdilla, Jason Ramos and Rodolfo Labrador, all geared to do battle in this field that drew participation from a record 18 countries, the biggest international volleyball tournament in the land in years.
The other brackets are Iran, Japan, Lebanon and Vietnam in Group B, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Oman, Hong Kong and Turkmenistan in Group C, and the United Arab Emirates, India, Papua New Guinea and Chinese Taipei in Group D.