Alyssa Valdez, Mika Reyes lead 25-man nat'l team pool
Alyssa Valdez and Mika Reyes will don the same color, carrying the country's pride in women's volleyball.
Three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez could be making her second straight tour of duty in the 29th Southeast Asian Games on Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia after making the cut in the 25-man women’s national volleyball team pool.
The former Ateneo de Manila star led 24 other big names included in the pool announced by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. Tuesday during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City.
Spearheading the roll call of members of the pool were LVPI president officials Joey Romasanta and Peter Cayco accompanied by coaches Sammy Acaylar of the men’s squad and Francis Vicente of the women’s team.
Joining Valdez, who is in Thailand playing for 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League, in the star-studded pool are her former UAAP rivals Mika Reyes of De La Salle University and Jaja Santiago of National University and veterans Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga.
Santiago, Gonzaga and Daquis were teammates of Valdez in the 28th Singapore SEA Games two years ago. The trio also played in the 2016 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship alongside Reyes.
Other players included in the list are middle blockers Aby Marano, Dindin Manabat, Lourdes Clemente, Gen Casugod, Maika Ortiz and Marivic Meneses. Lefty opposite Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, who represented the country in the beach volleyball competition of the 2011 SEA Games in Palembang Indonesia together with Gonzaga, open spikers Myla Pablo, Gretchel Soltones and Elaine Kasilag also made it as well.
The setters are Roselle Baliton of University of the East, Rhea Dimaculangan and Kim Fajardo, who served as the chief playmaker when the country hosted in the prestigious world tilt last year while part of the libero pool are Bia General, Denden Lazaro and Kath Arado.
LVPI conducted tryouts in Manila, where 37 players attended, Cebu and Davao. Valdez showed up in the Davao leg during her Thai club team's break.
But the most intriguing part of the announcement are the inclusions of current Ateneo and La Salle stars despite missing the final leg of the tryouts for UAAP and NCAA players.
Lady Eagles Kat Tolentino and Maddie Maddayag as well as Kim Dy and Dawn Macandili, who won the 2016 Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference MVP, of La Salle were last-minute inclusions.
The daily training composed of strength and conditioning workout in the morning and skills training in the afternoon will start Wednesday.
Aside from the SEA Games on August 19 to 31, the women’s squad will also participate in the Asian U-23 in Thailand and in the Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Manila on August 9 to 17.
From the pool, Vicente will choose the players that will be fielded in the U-23, Asian Seniors and SEAG tilts.
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