Risa Sato, Myla Pablo, four others called up to Vietnam-bound PH team in Alyssa Valdez's absence
Risa Sato and six other new players have been tapped to join five holdovers from the Philippine SEA Games squad. Czeasar Dancel 

TWO players from the Philippine Under-23 team and four others have been called up to join five holdovers from the SEA Games squad as the Philippines sees action in the  VTV Invitational Cup in Vietnam starting on Saturday.

Under-23 players Risa Sato and Myla Pablo will also join the team, along with Janine Marciano, Honey Royse Tubino, Suzanne Roces and multi-titled libero Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone.

From the 12-woman Philippine team to the SEA Games, only five players are seeing action in Vietnam.

SEA Games skipper Jovelyn Gonzaga is back together with Abi Marano, setter Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz and Dindin Santiago-Manabat.

Alyssa Valdez is not joining the Philippine team as she sees action for Ateneo in the V-League.

[See Valdez left in the dark as Coach Tai suddenly opts to player her in V-League after leave of absence]

Setter Jia Morado will miss the tournament due to a knee injury, Gretcel Soltones is nursing a shoulder injury, while Jaja Santiago and Bea de Leon are playing for National U and Ateneo, respectively, in the V-League.

Rachel Anne Daquis is out of the country and Denden Lazaro is focusing on medical school. SEA Games assistant coach and reserve player Aiza Maizo-Pontillas also begged off.

The team coached by Roger Gorayeb and Nes Pamilar as assistant coach will leave on Wednesday.                        

Although the team was formed less than a week before the tournament and more than half of the SEA Games squad will not play, Larong Volleyball ng Plilipinas, Inc. secretary general Ricky Palou is confident the team will be competitive.

“Nakapag-ensayo din naman sila pero hindi ganoon ka-extensive dahil biglaan na naman ’di ba?” he said on Monday. “But I think they’re familiar naman sa system. Tutal nagsama rin naman sila sa Southeast Asian Games most of them so familiar na sila.

“Nakakuha ng funding from PSC care of Chairman Richie Garcia and ang kausap niya is (LVPI president) Joey Romasanta. Hindi ko alam kung magkano pero I think it will cover the expense of the trip,” he said.

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