LVPI eyes strong U23 team

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The Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) is looking to assemble a solid team that would see action in the 3rd Asian U23 Women’s Championship.

A federation insider said they would leave no stone unturned in forming a competitive squad that will compete in the prestigious age group tourney in Vietnam in July.

The plan is still in the drawing board, but they want the program to be in parallel with that of the seniors team that would be preparing for three crucial tournaments this year – the Asian Women’s Club Championship in China in April, the 20th Asian Senior Women’s Championship in South Korea in August and the SEA Games in the Philippines in November.

By next year, members of the U23 team will take over from those in the senior team and completely shift the national team program to a higher gear.

“The plan is to come up with a strong U23 team,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to speak.

“Based on our discussion with our coaches in a planning session last week, we decided to boost the under-23 players and groom them to take over from those in the seniors team by next year. Nothing is final yet, but we’re now taking the first few steps.”

The country is overflowing with young talents.

Current national team stalwarts like Dawn Macandili and Kianna Dy of De La Salle University are still eligible as well University Athletic Association of the Philippines standouts Maddie Madayag, Bea del Rosario, Deanna Wong and Kat Tolentino of Ateneo de Manila University, Kath Arado of University of the East, Milena Alessandrini, Eya Laure and Sisi Rondina of University of Santo Tomas, Michelle Cobb of La Salle, Tots Carlos, Maris Layug, Ayel Estranero and Marian Buitre of University of the Philippines.

Unfortunately, Filipino-Hawaiian Kalei Mau, Filipino-American MJ Philips and Filipino-Canadian Rebecca Rivera are no longer eligible for the U23 tourney as they are set to turn 24 this year.

Moro Branislav is being eyed to coach the squad. (Amber Fortuno photo).

Still, they are welcome to join the training and give the young guns a good workout.

“Everything is now in the drawing board,” said the source, adding that they are not discounting the possibility of having Serbian coach Moro Branislav as mentor.

“It’s now time for us to work and assemble a competitive team that will stay together for a long time.”

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