UST-KAMENOGORSK, Kazakhstan — The Rebisco-PSL Manila squad arrived here Tuesday after a long 35-hour travel from Manila to Istanbul, and to this cold, scenic town that will be the site of smashing action for the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championships starting Thursday
Team captain Rachel Anne Daquis is aware of the enormity of their task, but says their “big fighting heart” against seven other teams will help carry them through.
The team is composed of 14 players, featuring the core of the newly formed Philippine team for the Southeast Asian Games.
They will be up against top clubs from Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Iran, Chinese Taipei and host Kazakhstan.
The Philippines last finished at seventh place when the country hosted the event last year at the MOA Arena. But head coach Francis Vicente expects to give SEAG rivals Vietnam and Thailand a tough time when they meet.
“We will be a going all out here because we want to gauge the team,” said Vicente. “From here, we would know how to go about preparing for the SEA Games.
The Rebisco spikers are SEAG team skipper Mika Reyes, Jaja Santiago, Aby Marano, Kim Fajardo, Denden Lazaro, Bia General, Lourdes Clemente, Maika Ortiz, Gen Casugod, Ces Molina, Aiza Pontillas, Rhea Dimaculangan and Jovelyn Gonzaga.
“This is the strongest team we have formed for this tournament,” said team manager, Philippine Superliga director Anna Tomas of the team supported by Asics and GrandSports.
They will be playing without foreign reinforcements, unlike last year.