LVPI bares dozen belles

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The Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. formally announced the composition of the national women’s volleyball team that will see action in the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia this August and AVC Asian Cup in Thailand this September.

Team captain Aby Marano of F2 Logistics leads the roster composed of young and experienced spikers, who will banner the country in its return to the prestigious continental meet for the first time since 1982.

Aside from Marano, also making the cut are her Philippine Superliga (PSL) teammates in Kim Fajardo, Majoy Baron, Dawn Macandili, Kianna Dy and Cha Cruz-Behag as well as rising star Jaja Santiago of Foton, who will be representing the country before playing as import in the prestigious V. Premier League in Japan.

Creamline stars Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado also survived the cut together with Mika Reyes and Frances Molina of Petron and Dindin Manabat of Foton, who will make a return after a couple of years of hiatus from international duties.

“We considered their versatility and ability to play multiple positions,” said LVPI acting president Peter Cayco, adding that the list was completed following a thorough deliberation with national coach Shaq Delos Santos and his assistants in Kungfu Reyes and Brian Esquibel.

“Our head coach is forward-thinking. He wants all the players to step up and play out of their position just in case somebody gets injured.”

Cayco said seasoned setter Rhea Dimaculangan of Petron and libero Denden Lazaro of Cocolife will serve as reserves while Myla Pablo of Pocari Sweat, Mylene Paat of Cignal, Maika Ortiz and CJ Rosario of Foton, Rebecca Rivera and MJ Philips of Sta. Lucia Realty will be part of the pool that will see action in the PSL Invitational Conference starting June 23.

“As much as possible, we want them to develop chemistry and cohesiveness,” said Cayco, who personally asked the PSL if it would accommodate the national pool as guest team in the Invitationals.

“Nothing beats tough competition. And, I believe, the national pool can get that from the PSL.”

The Nationals will open its PSL bid against Cignal on June 28 before facing Sta. Lucia on June 30; F2 Logistics on July 7; Cocolife on July 10; Petron on July 12; Foton on July 14, Generika-Ayala on July 24; and Smart on July 26.

Reports have it that Valdez, Morado and Pablo are not yet sure to join as they would still seek permission from their mother clubs.

But Cayco is glad that the formation of the national team is already shaping up.
“We’re looking forward to a productive performance in the PSL,” he said, adding that the result of the national pool’s matches will not reflect in the official team standing.