RETURNING three-time champion RC Cola-Philippine Army faces a tough task when it faces Foton in the opener of the Philippine Super Liga Invitational Conference at The Arena in San Juan on Thursday.
The Lady Troopers mark their return from a three-conference hiatus in the 4 p.m. game against the revamped Toplanders.
RC Cola Army will parade a veteran-laden core led by Tina Salak, 39, Michelle Carolino, 37; Mary Jean Balse, 32; and Joanne Bunag, 34; but coach Kungfu Reyes was firm that age is but a number.
The 34-year old mentor from Lucena, Quezon, said his team's passion for the game will be its biggest advantage in the competition.
"It's not the age, it's the passion," said Reyes. "We play for the glory of God, to the country and to the Filipino people and for the best fighting warriors."
He is also confident that his young guns led by Jovelyn Gonzaga, Royse Tubino and returning player Rachel Anne Daquis will provide the needed firepower for the team.
Daquis has rejoined the Lady Troopers after playing for two conferences with Petron, including the 13-game sweep of the All Filipino Conference.
Coming off its Grand Prix success, Foton will miss the services of National University players 6-foot-5 1/2 middle hitter Jaja Santiago, setter Ivy Perez and libero Bia Genetal due to the ongoing UAAP women's volleyball tournament.
The Toplanders, however, tapped former University of Santo Tomas standouts Angge Tabaquero, Rhea Dimaculangan and Maika Ortiz to take their place.
"It will be more exciting match, we will play against the recent champion of PSL," said Reyes.