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SEA Games: PH men’s volleyball team loses surprise but gains a lot in Qatar camp


MANILA, Philippines–There’ll be no coming out of nowhere for the men’s national volleyball team in the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

National coach Dante Alinsunurin admitted that they will no longer be able to pounce on opponent from under the cover of surprise after a fantastic silver medal finish in the last staging of the regional meet in 2019.

Instead, the men’s team will have to look for an advantage elsewhere.

And Alinsunurin feels this team has already found it.

“I think the edge we have now is that we are better and our game has improved,” Alinsunurin said Wednesday during a mid afternoon sendoff for the national volleyball teams in Taguig City.

Much of that improvement was built in a training camp in Qatar recently.

“Before, we weren’t [as prepared]. Now, the training in Qatar really helped because it showed us how we should approach the game internationally,” Alinsunurin added, speaking in Filipino.

“We learned that this is the system we need to use for International [competitions], for the SEA Games.”

After a stirring victory over regional powerhouse Thailand in the semifinals of the SEA Games men’s tournament in 2019, all other teams will have their eyes on the Philippine squad. And to even up matters, Alinsunurin has also kept tabs on the competition his team will fave in Vietnam.

“We’ve seen the lineups already, and we know if there are new players [for other countries] so at least we do know our competitors,” he said.

“We will base [our strategy] on what we know of them and what we’ve seen in the AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation) in Thailand and in the last SEA Games.”

The 2019 finish has raised people’s standards for the men’s team, but Alinsunurin said he won’t deal with the burden of expectations when this year’s tournament begins.

“There’s no pressure because we’ve really worked hard for this,” he said. “We started with wanting to get back at the podium and we ended up winning silver ion the last SEA Games. This time, we will do everything that we can to win the gold.”

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