MANILA, Philippines – Some of the top volleyball players in the country are set to skip the "Clash of Heroes," but the fund-raising event is still expected to feature great action on Monday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The best volleyball players in the country will fight for slots in the 18-man national team, with the men's players opening the day's events at 4:15 p.m.
Reigning NCAA MVP Johnvic de Guzman spearheads the Pilipinas-Blue team that is set to battle Pilipinas-Red, which is supposed to be bannered by four-time UAAP MVP Marck Espejo.
However, Espejo is doubtful to attend the event, as well as Ateneo de Manila University teammate Ish Polvorosa. Also unlikely to show up are the players from Cignal HD who have been included in the national team pool.
Another doubtful participant is former Ateneo superstar Alyssa Valdez, who was set to lead Pilipinas-Blue against a Pilipinas-Red squad led by veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas of Petron in the main event at 7 p.m.
Valdez was not allowed by her club team, Creamline, to compete in order to avoid any injuries as the Cool Smashers brace for the crucial stretch of the Premier Volleyball League. Also sitting out are Bali Pure's Gretchel Soltones, and Pocari Sweat's Myla Pablo and Elaine Kasilag.
Those players slots in the national team are thus in peril, as the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) has repeatedly stressed that the "Clash of Heroes" will serve as the basis for selecting the composition of the national team.
"The first thing we want to see in these aspirants is their commitment," said national women's team coach Francis Vicente. "This event is the ultimate test, not only to their skills and talent, but also to their character and commitment to serve the national team."
If Valdez will not attend as expected, then carrying the load for Pilipinas-Blue will be Kim Fajardo, Mika Reyes, Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili, Ria Meneses, and Frances Molina.
They will be up against a veteran-laden Pilipinas-Red squad bannered by Maizon Pontillas along with Abigail Maraño, Denden Lazaro, Jaja Santiago, Gen Casugod, and Rhea Dimaculangan.
Ahead of the women's match, the stars of today will pay tribute to those who have brought honor to the country in the international arena, like three-time SEA Games gold medalist Arlene Apostol-Ladimo, Grace Antigua, Zenaida Chavez, Rosemarie Prochina, and Joanne Tavera-Tomacruz.
PSC chairman William Ramirez, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco, LVPI president Joey Romasanta, and Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri were invited to do the ceremonial serve, while NCAA cheerdance champion Arellano University was tasked to bang the drums.
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