Philippine women spikers in Osaka, Japan

OSAKA, Japan -- The national women's volleyball team checked out of this enchanting city Tuesday with a 21-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-22 victory over Kansai University on Monday, July 31, to end their gruelling 17-day training.

The Nationals' win came after they overcame the tough Kobe Shinwa Women's University squad, 25-21, 23-25, 28-26, 24-26, 17-1, last Saturday to boost their morale as they enter the final phase of their buildup for the AVC Asian Senior Women's Championship and the Southeast Asian Games.

Frances Molina led the charge with four kills, four blocks and three aces for 11 points while Jaja Santiago delivered six kills, two aces and a block to finish with nine points for the national squad, which closed the camp with impressive wins over Kobe Shinwa Women's University, Osaka Superiors and Kansas University.

The results in the past three days are positive developments, especially since the Nationals appeared rusty in the first leg of the camp in Okayama City.

Noted Japanese coach Akiyoshi Kawamoto presided the first week of training and polished the blocking, floor defense and attack strategies of the Filipinos while scratching their "bad habits" on the court.

The Nationals lost five times to the elite Okayama Seagulls but those games gave them enough experiences on which to build their plays on.

But coach Francis Vicente emphasized that the job is still far from over.

"The latest results show that this training camp has been very productive," Vicente said.

"But it's still a long way to go. We still have to work hard in the next few days and prepare for the real battle -- the Asian Seniors and the SEA Games. It's a tough task, but we'll try our best to live above expectations."

The Nationals will take a breather on Wednesday and Thursday, but will regroup on Friday and will be housed at the Orchid Hotel in Manila for their twice-a-day training at the Arellano School of Law gym in Pasay City.

They will check out on Aug. 7 and move to Crimson Hotel in Alabang, the official residence of the Asian Seniors that kicks off on Aug. 9 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan City and Muntinlupa Sports Center in Muntinlupa City.

"There will be no rest for us after this camp," he said.

"We're now entering the final -- and most crucial -- stretch of our preparation. We have to keep the players together to put them in proper mindset as we approach the Asian Seniors." (PR)


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