FOTON Pilipinas has set a target of a semifinal finish when it faces 12 of the best teams in Asia in the Asian Club Women's Championship on September 3-11 at the Biñan Sports Complex in Laguna.
The Blue Army, who won the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix last year to earn the right to represent the country in the showpiece, will be led by their core of Jaja Santiago, Angeli Araneta, Patty Orendain, Ivy Perez, Bia General, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, Cara Acevedo, Carol Cervaza, EJ Laure and Sisi Rondina.
Army veteran setter Tina Salak, Petron libero Jen Reyes, F2 Logistics middle blocker Aby Maraño and Lady Troopers outside hitters Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis will reinforce the side along with former Cignal reinforcement Ariel Usher and Lindsay Stalzer, who was part of the Foton team that won the PSL Grand Prix last year.
From the 18-woman pool, two will be relegated to the reserves list and the two others will be cut.
"I have full confidence in my team and our goal is to move from seventh to fourth (place)," said Foton Pilipinas team manager Alvin Lu during the press launch on Friday at Crimson Hotel in Alabang.
Foton joined the PSL in 2014 and debuted fifth in the Grand Prix before improving to fourth place the following year in the All Filipino Conference. It finally bagged the crown behind Stalzer and Katie Messing.
Stalzer will arrive on August 13, while Usher will arrive on August 16.
"We're happy to have a team like Foton, coming from a Cinderella story in the PSL,” said PSL chairman Philip Juico.
Foton Pilipinas will compete against Hong Kong and Vietnam in Group A, while Korea, Iran and Thailand are in Group B, Japan, Indonesia and Kazakhstan are in Group C and Taipei, China, Malaysia and Turkmenistan make up Group D.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the single round quarterfinals, where they will no longer face the squads they faced in the group stage. The win-loss record from the group stage will be carried over into the quarterfinals.
Top four teams will move to the knockout semifinals to determine the last two teams standing.