Petron spikers' mettle to be tested in Asian debut against top North Korean club
Aby Marano and Rachel Anne Daquis will be bringing experience to a Petron side that will be up against tough opposition in the Asian Club Women's Volleyball Championship. Dante Peralta

PETRON battles powerhouse 4.25 Sports Club of North Korea to start its bid in the 2015 Asian Club Women's Championship at the Ha Nam Competition Hall in Vietnam on Saturday.

After a three-hour flight from Manila to Bangkok, two-hour flight from Bangkok to Hanoi and another two-hour bus ride from Hanoi to Phu Ly on Thursday, the Blaze Spikers will finally get to see action at 5 p.m. (Manila time).

"We haven't seen them yet, but we're ready," said coach George Pascua, arguably one of the country's brightest young coaches who steered Petron to back-to-back championships in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix and All-Filipino Conference.

Petron’s mettle will be tested by a Korean team that won the 2015 VTV Binh Dien Women's International Volleyball Cup last March.

The 4.25 Sports Club is led by Jong Jin Sim, the hero in North Korea's stunning straight-set victory over powerful Japan in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou where she emerged as MVP, Best Attacker and Best Opposite Spiker.

In their first international competition, Pascua is banking on his Brazilian reinforcements, middle spiker Rupia Inck and setter Erica Adachi, as well as his triple threat Aby Marano, Rachel Anne Daquis and Dindin Santiago-Manabat.

It will be Marano's third time to compete internationally after representing the country in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore and the VTV International Women's Volleyball Tournament in Bac Liue, Vietnam. 

Meanwhile, it will be Daquis and Santiago-Manabat’s second taste of international exposure after seeing action in the SEA Games in Singapore.

"We are banking on their experience," said Pascua, adding that the support crew of Jen Reyes, Acy Masangkay, Maica Morada, Mayette Zapanta, Jozza Cabalsa, Ana Marie del Mundo, Mina Aganon and Fille Cainglet-Cayetano will also play a key role in their game plan.

"Nobody said it's going to be easy," Pascua added. "But we will do everything we can to make the country proud."

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