AS part of its early preparation for the Southeast Asian Games next year, the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) readily named the final roster of the men and women’s teams competing in the biennial meet set in Singapore.
The 18-woman and 18-man lineup were formally presented on Friday by PLDT Home Fibr at the New World Hotel under coaches Ramil de Jesus and Odjie Mamon, respectively.
“This team is the best we have compared to the past teams,” admitted De Jesus, who will handle the women’s side. “I'm very confident with this team.”
Spearheading the women’s squad are veterans Ging Balse, Nene Bautista, Tina Salak, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Rachel Anne Daquis, and Jovelyn Gonzaga.
Providing youth for the team are college stars Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago, Kim Fajardo, Mika Reyes, and Ara Galang.
Former UAAP ad NCAA standouts Dindin Santiago, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan, Lizlee Ann Pantone, Denden Lazaro, Jen Reyes, and Honey Royse Tubino complete the cast of the distaff side.
Ranran Abdilla, part of the national team that placed seventh in the 2014 Asian Men's Club Championship last summer, leads the men’s team along with Jessie Lopez, JP Torres, Peter Torres, Raffy Mosuela, Jayson Ramos, Jeffrey Malabanan, Rodolfo Labrador and Kheeno Franco.
Also in the team are Mark Gil Alfafara, John Vic de Guzman, Pitrus Ocampo, Marck Espejo, Reyson Fuentes, Vincent Mangulabnan, Howard Mojica, Sandy Montero, and Henry James Pecaña.
“This (team) is the best one ever formed because of the preparation and the time spent in choosing the athletes,” said Mamon.
Both teams will undergo a rigorous 10-month preparation as it makes a return to the SEA Games after a 10-year absence.
The Filipina volleybelles won the bronze the last time they competed in the SEA Games during the 2005 edition held in Manila, while their male counterpart finished fourth that same staging.
As part of its training, the women’s squad will see action in the Vietnam International Invitational tournament and other meets abroad.
The men’s team is likewise going to join pocket tournaments outside of the country as part of its preparation.