WHAT it lacked in experience, the Philippine women’s team hopes to make up for with its fighting heart.
The Filipina volleybelles leave for Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand next week to compete in the Asian Volleyball Championship where they aim to finish in the top eight and earn a shot at joining the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar this December.
“Ang aura ng team, palaban. May puso ang team na ito," said skipper Angeli Tabaquero when the team was formally introduced on Friday at Aracama in Bonifacio Global City.
A selection culled from former collegiate standouts who have suited up in both the Shakey’s V-League and Philippine Super Liga also included Pau Soriano, Honey Royse Tubino, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Angela Benting, Michelle Datuin, Faye Guevara, Wenneth Eulalio, Sandra delos Santos, Joy Benito, Rosemarie Vargas, Lizlee Ann Gata-Pantone, May Macatuno, Arianne Argarin, Chie Saet, Danika Gendrauli, and libero Jheck Dionela.
Incidentally, only Dionela has international experience from the 17 women in the team, having been a part of the PH squad that saw action in the Asian Southeastern Zone Women’s Volleyball qualifier in Quang Tri, Vietnam three months ago.
“Sa skill, talent, at determination, kaya natin," said coach Nes Pamilar, who handled the Philippine men's volleyball team during the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.
“But this is a tough tournament. Our main goal is to gain experience. We are not aiming for the championship, but we will give it our all," he added.
The team, whose trip is funded by PLDT HOME Fibr, will face India for its opening day assignment, followed by Iran before wrapping up its classification campaign against powerhouse China.
In the event the Filipina volleybelles finished eighth, it will automatically earn an outright slot in the Philippine delegation bound to the 27th edition of the SEA Games.
The support of PLDT Home through Fibr, is also a big boost to the campaign of the Filipina volleybelles.
"We see great potential for sports excellence in these athletes," said Gary Dujali, vice president and head of PLDT Home Fibr broadband, who graced the event together with PSC commissioner Iggy Clavecilla.
"This newly-formed squad has some of the best players in Philippine volleyball. It is a great pride that the most powerful broadband is supporting the country's most powerful volleyball team."
The support of PLDT to the Philippine women’s volleyball team is part of the MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) group’s advocacy for youth development and sports excellence in the country.