Ateneo spiker Alyssa Valdez, Santiago sisters head PH pool for Asian Under-23 Championship
Joining Alyssa Valdez in the 14-woman pool are sisters Jaja and Dindin Santiago, UST's EJ Laure, and former La Salle skipper Aby Marano. Dante Peralta

THE reigning MVPs from the UAAP and NCAA lead the the pool of the Under-23 Philippine squad that will compete in the Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship which Manila will host from May 1-9.

Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez, the back-to-back UAAP MVP, and NCAA MVP Gretcel Soltones of San Sebastian head the 14-woman pool, which was released by the newly formed Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. on Saturday.

The initial roster also includes former La Salle skipper Aby Marano, Santiago sisters Dindin and Jaja and Lady Eagles standouts Bea de Leon and Jia Morado.

Completing the lineup are UAAP Rookie of the Year awardee EJ Laure, UAAP best blocker Ria Meneses, Alyssa Eroa, Myla Pablo, Kim Fajardo, Tin Agno and Christine Rosario.

Only 12 players will make the team to be mentored by head coach Roger Gorayeb and assistant coach Sammy Acaylar, with Ateneo's Thai coach Tai Bundit as the trainer and consultant.

“The list was based on what we’ve seen in the tournaments,” said LVPI Joey Romasanta. “It would have been ideal if there were actual tryouts but considering the time frame (kulang na ang oras)."

Romasanta thanks back-to-back UAAP champion Ateneo which he said has lent not only three players to the pool but also its celebrated Thai coach as well as the use of the Blue Eagle gym for the team's practices.

“Ateneo has been so gracious in supporting the training that it is why we will conduct our training in Blue Eagle gym,” said Romasanta.

“Coach Bundit’s system is also proven, kasi naniniwala ako sa, ‘No pain, no gain’,” he added.

The Philippines has been bracketed in Group A against Kazakhstan and Iran.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada