PSL-Manila challenges powerhouse Brazil

ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 17, 2016 05:26 PM
PSL-Manila challenges powerhouse Brazil
The coaches and team captains of the eight teams competing in the Women's Club World Championship.

Games Tuesday:
(Mall of Asia Arena)
10:00 am – VakifBank vs Hisamitsu Springs
1:00 pm – Volero Zurich vs Bangkok Glass
4:30 pm – Pomi Casalmaggiore vs Eczacibasi VitrA
6:30 pm – PSL-F2 Logistics vs Rexona-Sesc
World-class volleyball action takes centerstage as the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship presented by PLDT goes full blast Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

All eyes will be on the home team – PSL-F2 Logistics Manila – as it takes on South American champion Rexona-Sesc Rio in the 6:30 p.m. main offering of this prestigious tournament organized by the Philippine Superliga and Eventcourt.

Prior to that, Olympic gold medalist Zhu Ting and VakifBank Istanbul takes on Hisamitsu Springs Kobe at 10:00 a.m. followed by the clash between Volero Zurich and Asian titlist Bangkok Glass at 1:00 p.m. 

Meanwhile, reigning champion Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul tests the mettle of European superpower Pomi Casalmaggiore at 4:30 p.m. before the opening ceremony tipped to be graced by International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) honorary president Wei Jizhong, Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) secretary general Shanrit Wongprasert, FIVB executive council member Stav Jacobi and Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. president Joey Romasanta and vice-president Peter Cayco.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez were also invited, affirming the government’s solid support in this week-long spectacle. 

Skippered by Rachel Anne Daquis and powered by seven foreign reinforcements, hopes are high for PSL-F2 Logistics Manila, which is tipped to be showered with massive support from the home crowd after President Rodrigo Duterte declared the month of October as “Volleyball Month.”

Aside from Daquis, one of the most beautiful faces in local volleyball circuit, Mika Reyes, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Jen Reyes, Kim Fajardo, Frances Molina and Jaja Santiago will carry the cudgels while Americans Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay Stalzer, Puerto Rican Lynda Morales, Ukrainian Yevgeniya Nyukhalova, Russian Ekaterina Krivets, Thai Tichaya Boonlert and Japanese Yuri Fukuda will all suit up for the PSL-F2 Logistics Manila squad that will be handled by Serbian Moro Branislav.

“May pressure siyempre. Kasi ang mga makakalaban namin ay mga best players in the world,” said Daquis, admitting that they are pressured to win for being the underdogs. “Excited kami na makalaro sila. Siyempre malaking experience ito para sa amin.”

But winning their world debut will not be easy for the Filipinas.

After crashing out of the medal podium in last year’s edition in Zurich, the Brazilian side is serious in gaining redemption with legendary coach Bernardo Rezende vowing to come up with a serious battle against the world’s best club teams following a gold-medal finish with the Brazilian men’s team in the Rio Olympics.

Rexona-Sesc Rio, an 11-time Brazilian Superliga champion and South American title-holder for the past three years, made a major upgrade in its offense as it drafted Dutch winger Anne Bujis to power the already competitive core of Olympians Gabi Guimaraes, Juicely Silva and Fabi Oliveira, who was with Pomi Casalmaggiore when it won a silver medal in this world tourney in 2013.

“I have a libero who is a 2-time Olympic gold medalist in Fabi,” said Rezende. “But this is a very tough competition. Our chances may not be that high, but we will try our best.”

Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, meanwhile, kicks off its bid to make history when it battles Pomi Casalmaggiore.

After winning the crown last year, the Turkish club will be coming with a star-studded roster of Olympians Tijana Boskovic of Serbia, Thaisa Menezes of Brazil, Tatiana Kosheleva of Russia and Jordan Larson of United States in a bid to become the first club to win back-to-back title.

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