AVC Cup : Philippines eyes semis slot, gears up for match against Thailand
CEBU CITY, Philippines — After beating South Korea on Thursday, August 25, the Philippines eyes a semifinal slot by battling Southeast Asian powerhouse Thailand in the AVC Cup for Women quarterfinals at the Philsports Arena on Saturday, August 27, 2022.
The Philippines stands at third place in Pool A team standings with a 2-2 (win-loss) record after beating Iran and South Korea, while the Thais, the 2012 champions, placed second in Pool B with a 2-1 slate.
Coach Sherwin Meneses is not new in crucial moments with team Philippines as he served as one of Dante Alinsunurin’s assistants during the men’s team’s historic silver medal finish in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. That time, they beat Thailand in a come-from-behind fashion in the semifinals.
“Iba yung pakiramdam kasi women’s to men’s yun. Tapos assistant coach ako do’n sa men’s. Dito, head coach na ako. Masaya ako na na-experience ko yung men and women group,” said Meneses.
(It’s a different feeling because this is women’s to men’s. I was the assistance coach there in the men’s. Here, I am the head coach. I am happy that I experienced handling the men and women group.)
“Hopefully, makapanalo tayo ng isa dito na mabigat kasi yung Thailand kilala naman natin sila. Pero bilog ang bola. Last time sa men’s, napanalo natin yun. Hopefully, sa women’s makapanalo,” he said.
(Hopefully, we can win one from the heavyweights because we know who Thailand is. But the ball is round. Last time in the men’s, we won that. Hopefully, in the women’s we can also win.)
Win or lose against Thailand, the Philippines will still surpass its erstwhile ninth place finish in the 2018 edition held in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
The match tomorrow features the rivalry between setter Jia de Guzman and Thai counterpart Pornpun Guedpard, who became the country’s top playmaker after legendary Nootsara Tomkom retired from her national team duties two years ago.
“Pornpun is playing for the national team for the longest time. We know how fast-paced she can set, she has the height. So we will do our best that we can,” said De Guzman, who is on her first international stint since the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
Meanwhile, Pornpun has high regard on De Guzman’s play.
“Yes I have met her in the SEA Games. She is a very good player, very good setter. I think she can bring the best of them,” said Pornpun on De Guzman.
All eyes will be on the Philippines’ top guns Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza and Michele Gumabao on how they will fare against Thailand aces Chatchu-on Moksri, Sasipapron Janthawisut and Pimpichaya Kokram.
The other quarterfinals match features China versus Australia, while Iran goes up against Japan. Vietnam and Chinese-Taipei will play in the other match.
The semifinals will be held the next day, while the medal and classification matches are on Monday.
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