Rebisco-PSL Manila left for Ust-Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan on Sunday night, with fervent hopes of springing a surprise in the prestigious AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship.
Seasoned international campaigner Rachel Anne Daquis banners this collection of PSL stars, who are looking to surpass the country's seventh-place finish when it hosted the tournament last year.
Daquis is joined by fellow veterans Jovelyn Gonzaga of Cignal, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Rhea Dimaculangan of Petron as well as young guns Mika Reyes and Ces Molina of Petron, Aby Marano of F2 Logistics, Denden Lazaro of Cocolife, Kim Fajardo of F2 Logistics, Jaja Santiago of Foton, Gen Casugod and Bia General of Generika-Ayala and Lourdes Clemente of Sta. Lucia.
National women’s team head coach Francis Vicente will serve as mentor.
The team will be playing without an import but team manager Anna Tomas believes this squad is capable of stunning other clubs in its pool like Hisamitsu Springs of Japan, Tianjin Bohai Bank of China and VietinBank of Vietnam.
“This is the best team we ever formed for the AWCC,” said Tomas shortly after the squad embarked on a 15-hour flight to Istanbul, a four-hour flight to Almaty and another two-hour travel to Ust-Kamenogorsk in northern Kazakhstan.
PSL president Ramon Suzara stressed that the PSL stars' experience from this event will go a long way in their participaiton in two major international tourneys this year: the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
Vicente said winning the crown is a tough task, but at least they should be able to beat Vietnam and keep the scores very close against Japan and China.
Vietnam, one of the Philippines’ Southeast Asian rivals, is reportedly coming in without an import and will parade the core of its national team while majority of the Japanese players are fresh from seeing action in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in Kobe, Japan.