THE Philippine women’s national volleyball team steps up its preparations for the 30th Southeast Asian Games as plays in the Philippine Superliga Super Cup starting on on Tuesday at the Arena in San Juan.
The nationals led by Aby Marano and Mika Reyes take on Team Shine, bannered by national pool members MJ Phillips, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Denden Lazaro, at 5 p.m.
The Philippine women’s squad, also featuring Kalei Mau and Majoy Baron, trained for 12 days in Tokyo, playing against clubs and school-based teams.
Mylene Paat, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maddie Madayag, Eya Laure, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Ces Molina, Dawn Macandili and Kath Arado are also seeing action in the three-day tournament.
Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado will again skip national team activities as they pay for Creamline in the PVL Open Conference Finals against Petro Gazz starting on Wednesday.
National team head coach Shaq Delos Santos expects much better performances from the locals after winning three of 25 sets against Kashiwa Angel Cross, Gunma Bank Green Wings, Yamanashi Chuo Bank and Yamanada of the Japan second division league, as well as Japan V League squads Hitachi and Nittai U.
“We’re so excited for this coming tournament. Nagprepare kami from Japan and marami kaming natutunan doon so we have to show it here,” Delos Santos said.
“Definitely, ibibigay namin 100 percent yung game namin kasi for us magandang tournament sa amin to kasi doon sa dalawang teams ng PSL, marami rin kaming matututunan. For sure sa Japan team marami din mailabas talaga namin doon,” he added.
As the first team to challenge the Nationals, Team Shine head coach Carl Dimaculangan promised to give the Philippine squad a good fight as he also leans on Remy Palma and Buding Duremdes of Petron, Generika-Ayala’s Fiola Ceballos, Ria Meneses, Patty Orendain, Mean Mendrez and Bia General, Sta. Lucia’s Amanda Villanueva, Eli Soyud and Rebecca Rivera, and F2 Logistics’ Des Clemente, Alex Cabanos and Fritz Gallenero.
“This is a great exposure for other PSL players and it’s a pleasure to challenge the national team so expect us to give our best to give them a good game,” Dimaculangan said.
Meanwhile, Tsukuba University coach Yasumi Nakanishi is elated to take on the two PSL squads and the women’s national team as part of their preparation for their tournament next month.
“We’re excited for this event. I don’t know much about Filipino volleyball and PSL but I’m looking forward playing against these teams,” said Nakanishi.
Facing the Japanese collegiate champion team is Team Sparkle, which is composed of Cignal’s Alohi Robins-Hardy, Roselyn Doria, May Luna and Ranya Musa, Foton’s EJ Laure, Jen Reyes, Mina Aganon and Elaine Kasilag, PLDT’s Grethcel Soltones, Jerrili Malabanan, Jasmin Nabor and Alyssa Eroa, and Marinerang Pilipina’s Judith Abil, Caitlyn Viray, Dimdim Pacres and Nica Gulliman.
Team Sparkle head coach Vilet Ponce-De Leon is also hoping to give the Tsukuba a good fight as they battle at 7 p.m.
“Hopefully we can give them a good fight,” De Leon said. “We want to be at least at par with their skills, especially with the Japanese team.”