AN 18-woman Philippine lineup has been submitted to the Asian Volleyball Confederation for the 18th Asian Senior Women's Championships, with power hitters Aby Maraño and Dindin Santiago-Manabat expected to head the 12-member squad in the tournament set May 20 to 28 in Tianjin and Beijing, China.
Maraño and Santiago-Manabat, former college rivals and now teammates at Petron in the Philippine Super Liga, will be joined by Filipino-American setter Iris Tolenada, a former Most Valuable Player in California Collegiate Athletic Association.
Tolenada was picked No. 1 overall by Philips Gold in the Philippine Super Liga.
Also making the pool from Philips Gold are Shaya Adorador, Melissa Gohing, Michelle Gumabao and Myla Pablo.
Other Petron players in the pool are Carmina Aganon, Mary Grace Masangkay, Frances Molina and Ivy Perez.
Cignal libero Jheck Dionela and teammates Jeanette Panaga, Janine Navarro, Lourdes Clemente and Rica Jane Enclona also made the pool.
Kim Dy is the lone player from Shopinas, while Mane 'N Tail’s Aby Praca was also listed.
The team will be trimmed to 12 before the tournament.
Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar will be the head coach, while serving as his deputies are Francis Vicente of Philips Gold, Rosemary Prochina of Mane 'N Tail and Benson Bocboc of Shopinas.
The Philippines, which placed 12th out of 16 competitors in the previous edition in Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand in 2013, is in Group D together with Kazakhstan, South Korea and Oceania power Australia.
The Filipinas open their campaign against the Australia on May 20.
"This is a fighting team," Acaylar said. "They may not win it all, but I can see the fire in their eyes, so rest assured that they will go down hard and fight for the country with all their might."
In Group A are China, India, Fiji Islands and Iran. Reigning champion Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong are in Group B, while Japan, Turkmekistan, Vietnam and Mongolia are in Group C.
"This is part of our commitment to the newly-formed national sports association for volleyball — the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc.," PSL president Tats Suzara said in a statement.
"I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the team owners, coaches and players who gave us their valuable time and resources for this noble endeavor. I hope this will trigger the start of our return to the international arena," he added.