ALAINA Bergsma, a former National Player of the Year awarde of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, heads a cast of 12 tough imports tapped to beef up the local squads for the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix opening on Oct. 18 at the Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-3 opposite hitter, a former Miss Oregon who played for the USA Volleyball A2 National Team, will join Brazilian setter Erica Adachi at the Petron Blaze Spikers.
Also expected to generate attention is former Cincinnati hitter Bonita Wise, a campaigner in the European circuit who was born in the Philippines as his father Francois once saw action in the PBA as an import in the 1980s.
German players Lindsay Stalzer and Sarah Ammerman will suit up for Cignal, while the Russian tandem of Elena Tarasova and Irina Tarasova have also arrived but yet to be lined up, as are Kaylee Manns and Kristy Jaeckel, a 23-year old former Florida Gators star.
Russian reinforcement Natalia Korobkova will don Generika's jersey along with setter Miyuu Shinohara of Japan, the youngest import at 19 and the lone Asian import in the inter-club volleyball tournament sanctioned by the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF), Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) and the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).
“We want to treat fans to a higher level of competition," said Ramon Suzara, president and CEO of the organizing Sports Core.
Suzara noted that the imports were acquired through the International Transfer System, which is strictly implemented by the governing FIVB.
“By bringing in these world-class reinforcements from the United States, Brazil, Germany, Russia and Japan, we can increase the level of competition in the country that ensures the transfer of technology and raises the morale of our local players when pitted against other Asian countries,” said Suzara, also the chairman of the Asian Volleyball Confederation Development Committee and a former coach of the national volleyball team.