Alyssa Valdez counting on home crowd support as Philippines begins bid in Asian U23 Championship
Philippine U23 skipper Alyssa Valdez says fan support will be crucial as they battle the best in the continent. Jaime Campos

SKIPPER skipper Alyssa Valdez is counting on fan support to give the Philippine team a boost in the Asian Under 23 Women's Championship.

The Filipinas see action right on opening day on Friday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City and the back-to-back UAAP is hoping to see local fans cheer the 12-member Philippine squad.

“Hopefully, hopefully po, makasama natin sila sa journey natin na ito,” Valdez told

The Ateneo star noted that it will be tough battling an elite field in the continental competition and they would really like to get some help from the home crowd.

“I think their part also is going to be crucial,” said Valdez.

“’Yung mere presence nila, makikita mo sila may mga dala silang banners, malaking bagay na talaga ’yun,” added Valdez, who leads a team that features her Lady Eagles teammates Bea de Leon, Jia Morado, Jhoanna Maraguinot and Ella de Jesus, who replaced Ellaine Kasilag early this week.

Also seeing action for the Philippines are Gretchel Soltones, EJ Laure, Myla Pablo, Jaja Santiago, Tin Agno, Marivic Meneses and Filipino-Japanese Rissa Sato, with Roger Gorayeb as head coach and Thailand’s Tai Bundit as trainer.

“Imagine lang when you're down and you want an inspiration and motivation to push yourself pa kasi you're really frustrated, pagtingin mo or pagtingala mo may mga banner, may mga tao na sumusuporta sayo,” she added.

“Crowd ang seventh man ng volleyball, syempre,” she said. “Always and forever.”

“For us one of our inspirations is we're playing here in the Philippines and they're going to see us play and fight for our country. Definitely they're going to be our inspiration,” she added.

“Hopefully maging united tayo, hopefully,” she said, her hands clasped. “Para mapakita natin sa, hindi lang sa Philippines, pati sa ibang countries na may narating naman tayo.”

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