(UPDATE) WORLD No. 2 Brazil squares off with No. 4 Italy as action in Week 3 of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) kicks off on Tuesday with no less than First Lady Marie Louise “Liza” Araneta-Marcos making the ceremonial serve at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Brazil and Italy take the court at 3 p.m. in a showdown of Olympic finalists with the Brazilians owning a 3-0 record over the Italians. They played in the gold medal matches in Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.
“Everyone is excited with the VNL men's competition and we're expecting more fans to march to the MOA Arena to witness thrilling world-class and high flying international men's volleyball action,” said Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Ramon “Tats” Suzara.
Crowd favorite Japan, ranked No. 7 in the world, and No. 25 China complete the opening-day double header at 7 p.m.
This marks the second consecutive year that the PNVF is hosting the VNL, the sport's most prestigious competition organized by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the Volleyball World.
Philippine Olympic Committee president and Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richard Bachmann and Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano are also expected in the opening ceremony of the VNL Pasay City leg which has Ganten, Gerflor, Mikasa, Mizuno, Senoh and Stake.com as global sponsor.
Eight of the top 25 teams in the world are seeing action in this Week 3 of the men's VNL that has PLDT, Rebisco, Akari and the PSC as major sponsors. The other nations are world No. 1 Poland, No. 9 Slovenia, No. 12 The Netherlands and No. 15 Canada.
Canada and The Netherlands clash at 3 p.m., while Poland tests Slovenia at 7 p.m. at Wednesday's resumption of the event.
The Philippine leg serves as the final and critical stage of the VNL's preliminary round that will determine the top eight squads which will advance to the final stage from July 19 to 24 in Poland.
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