Petro Gazz to play in Taiwan tourney

Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM--Fresh from winning the PVL Reinforced Conference championship, Petro Gazz will be taking part in an international tournament next week.

The Angels will be the lone Philippine representative to the Taichung Bank International Women's Invitational Volleyball Tournament in Taipei, which will begin on Sunday.

"Ang aming hinahangad dito is the experience that we will gain from this, hoping that this experience will make our girls even better players," Dave Dichupa, Petro Gazz's delegation hed, told Dugout Philippines its goal during a send-off press conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Tuesday.

One specific experience the team wants to get is on how the team will adopt the other nations' approach to their training.

"We're hoping to be able to see ano ang training system [nila]," Dichupa added. "We also want to interact with other countries."

While the Angels had foreign reinforcements Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson during their successful title conquest against powerhouse Creamline in the Reinforced Conference finals, Dichupa bared that it will not be the case in the Taiwanese event.

"We will be going there all-Filipino," he further said, although he expects the other five teams to parade international players if they want to.

Veteran setter Chie Saet, open spiker Paneng Mercado, and middle blocker Jeanette Panaga will lead the Angels in the tournament.

Also in the team going to Taipei are blockers Cherry Nunag and Jessey De Leon, setter Djanel Cheng, opposite hitters Kai Baloaloa, Alyssa Layug, Jonah Sabete, and Jovielyn Prado, and liberos Rica Enclona and Cienne Cruz.

But even if the oppositions, which include a team from each of well-known Asian volleyball strongholds China, Thailand, and Japan and two more from host Chinese Taipei, may go full force, Dichupa insisted that Petro Gazz will not be wavered.

"Their confidence is high," he quipped. "They're practicing well. We're at the level na tingin namin ang improvement namin is on the way up."

As a testament to the confidence level they have right now, the Angels are also on track for a title shot in the ongoing Open Conference, sporting a 5-2 record for second place, just behind the still unbeaten Cool Smashers.

With that said, Dichupa hopes for a decent finish for the Angels there.

"Yung di tayo mapapahiya," he specifically describe his goal for the team. "We can show our best foot there."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno