MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in their careers, collegiate rivals Alyssa Valdez and Mika Reyes will be donning the same jersey when they see action in the Clash of Heroes on Monday, May 15, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Valdez, the former Ateneo superstar, will join forces with Reyes, a former La Salle standout, in leading the Pilipinas-Blue squad against a veteran-laden Pilipinas-Red team in the fund-raising project organized by the PSC-POC Media Group, in cooperation with the Larong Volleyball Sa Pilipinas, Inc.
The event will be held for the benefit of the national volleyball team's foreign training and exposure.
Also landing on the Pilipinas-Blue team are Kim Fajardo, Kim Dy and Dawn Macandili, who are coming off another title-winning campaign in the UAAP Season 79 women's volleyball tournament.
They will be joined by Jovelyn Gonzaga of Cignal, Kat Tolentino of Ateneo, Elaine Kasilag of Pocari Sweat, Bia General of Generika-Ayala, Frances Molina and Ria Meneses of Petron, Lourdes Clemente of Sta. Lucia, and CJ Rosario of Foton.
Assistant coach Brian Esquibel of Foton will call the shots with Ronald Dulay of Foton and Ian Fernandez of Petron as deputies.
The game will mark a reunion of sorts for Valdez and Fajardo, childhood friends from Batangas who starred for University of Santo Tomas in high school before shining for rival schools in college.
National team coach Francis Vicente, however, stressed that the team assignments were not intentional.
"It's the outcome of long nights of deliberation among members of the national coaching staff," said Vicente, who was Valdez and Fajardo's mentor during their days at UST.
"Alyssa and Kim are both candidates for team captain. I want to see how they would lead the team composed of players with different backgrounds. I would carefully take note of how they will provide the spark and chemistry on the floor," he added.
However, Valdez and Fajardo's squad could be headed for a tough battle.
Rachel Anne Daquis of Cignal will be at the helm for Pilipinas-Red squad, along with fellow veterans Aiza Maizo-Pontillas of Petron and Aby Marano of F2 Logistics.
Also in the squad are Denden Lazaro of Cocolife, Kat Arado of Generika-Ayala, Myla Pablo of Pocari Sweat, Gretchel Soltones of BaliPure, Jaja Santiago of Foton, Gen Casugod of Generika-Ayala, Maika Ortiz of Foton, Maddie Madayag of Ateneo, Rhea Dimaculangan of Petron and Roselle Baliton of UE.
Injured Foton star Dindin Manabat was also on the roster of Pilipinas-Red.
Nene Chavez of Generika-Ayala, the skipper of the team that won the country's last gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in 1993, will call the shots for Pilipinas Red, to be assisted by Kungfu Reyes of UST and Benson Bocboc of La Salle.
"Rachel, Aiza, Aby and Jaja are overflowing with international experience. I want to see how they will prove their worth and translate that experience into a victory against younger players like Alyssa, Kim, and Mika," said Vicente.
"This would serve as the basis in forming the 18-woman roster, so I want to see them fight for their respective slots," he added.
Tickets are still on sale at the media center of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. For inquiries, please call (02) 536 4722.
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