BANGKOK Glass and Hisamitsu Springs arrived in Manila on Sunday, completing the strong cast in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship opening on Tuesday at the MOA Arena.
The Thais, the reigning Asian champions, will be led by Pleumjit Thinkaow, Thi Ngoc Hoa Nguyen, Wilavan Apinyapong, Pornpun Guedpard and American Ashley Frazier. The Thais will compete in all-white kit throughout the tournament following the death of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs has Olympians Miyu Nagaoka and Yuki Ishii as well as Risa Shinnabe and Risa Ishibashi.
Rio Olympics Most Valuable Player Zhu Ting, Lonneke Sloetjes, Kim Hill and Naz Aydemir Aykol are suiting up for VakifBank Istanbul, while Tijana Boskovic, Thaisa Menezes and Titiana Kosheleva are playing for Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul.
Foluke Akinradewo, Olesia Rykhliuk and Mariana Costa are seeing action for Volero Zurich.
South American powerhouse Rexona-Sesc Rio will parade Anne Bujis, Carol, Gabi and Juicely, while European champion Pomi Casalmaggiore of Italy will be powered by Rio Olympics bronze medalist Carli Lloyd, Jovana Stevanovic and Valentina Tirrozi.
The tournament will feature top volleyball players, coaches, technical officials and special guests from 25 countries, including Great Britain, Greece, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Tunisia and Cuba.
“The level of competition and star power of this event could match or even surpass that of the Olympic Games,” said local organizing committee chairman Philip Ella Juico during a meeting with the organizing committee’s honorary president Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, organizing committee president Shanrit Wongprasert and director general Ramon Suzara.
“All the world’s best players are here. We also have our national government giving its all-out support, the latest volleyball technology and innovations as well as the support from local and international fans and media. We’re looking forward to a successful hosting of the tournament.”
The home team will carry the colors of PSL-F2 Logistics Manila powered by skipper Rachel Anne Daquis, Mika Reyes, Kim Fajardo, Frances Molina, Jen Reyes and Jaja Santiago.
They will be backed by foreign reinforcements in Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay Stalzer of the United States, Lynda Morales of Puerto Rico, Tichaya Boonlert of Thailand, Yuri Fukuda of Japan, Yevgeniya Nyukhalova of Ukraine and Ekaterina Krivets of Russia.
Serbian Moro Branislav will be calling the shots, with Japan’s Shun Takahashi as trainer.
“Everybody’s ready to go,” said Suzara, a member of the International Volleyball Federation and the Asian Volleyball Confederation. “All bases were already covered and we expect our team to come up with a very good fight.”
PSL-F2 Logistics Manila will kick off its campaign against Rio-Sesc Rio on Tuesday at 7:30 pm in the tournament presented by PLDT, organized by Philippine Superliga and Eventcourt, and backed by TV5, Petron, Asics, BMW, F2 Logistics, Diamond Hotel, Turkish Airlines, Philippine Sports Commission, Rexona, Mall of Asia Arena, Foton and Price Waterhouse Cooper.