MANILA, Philippines – Members of the volleyball training pool will fight for their slots in the national men's and women's team in a one-game showdown dubbed "Clash of Heroes" on April 28 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Former Ateneo de Manila University superstar Alyssa Valdez, 2016 Miss Volleyball Mika Reyes, and former Far Eastern University standout Rachel Anne Daquis banner the star-studded event that was organized for the benefit of the national teams' training in Japan and South Korea next month.
Aside from the men's and women's matches, there will also be a pep rally where members of the national men's and women's training pool will be formally introduced to solicit support as they embark on their journey to the Southeast Asian Games.
According to LVPI acting president Peter Cayco, men's team coach Sammy Acaylar and women's team coach Francis Vicente will be at the sidelines, but they will delegate the coaching chores to their deputies. They will instead focus on observing the players' performances.
"This is our way to present the team to the public," said Cayco. "They are no longer carrying their university or club teams. They are now representing our country, the Philippines. And our coaches want to see how they work as one."
"This is going to be a very crucial event, as it serves as the basis of our coaches in choosing the 18 members of the team that they will bring to Japan, and probably, South Korea for training next month," he added.
Macky Cariño, the assistant coach for the men's team, said they will observe balance and fairness in dividing the 24-man pool, which has been training regularly since it was formed and announced last month.
"As much as possible, we want to come up with a pair of very balanced and competitive teams," he said. "We're not looking at their names or past achievements. We will be looking at their commitment and what they're capable of bringing to the national team."
Also expected to suit up for the women's side are: Kathleen Faith Arado, Roselle Baliton, Gen Casugod, Lourdes Clemente, Rhea Dimaculangan, Kim Dy, Kim Fajardo, Bia General, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Elaine Kasilag, Denise Lazaro, Maddie Maddayag, Dawn Macandili, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Abigail Marano, Ria Meneses, Maika Ortiz, Myla Pablo, Jaja Santiago, Gretchel Soltones and Kat Tolentino.
CJ Rosario and Frances Molina have been added to replace Dindin Santiago-Manabat, who suffered an injury in the recent Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference.
In the men's side, meanwhile, former De La Salle-College of St. Benilde standout Johnvic de Guzman will be at the helm along with Ran Abdilla, Mark Alfafara, Geuel Asia, John Paul Bugaoan, Dave Cabaron, Lorenzo Capate, John Carascal, Bonjomar Castel, Louwie Chavez, Mark Deximo, Reyson Fuentes, Jacki Kalingking, Eddiemar Kasim, Ismael Kasim, Jeff Malabanan, Anjo Pertiera, Peter John Quiel, Erickson Ramos, Herschel Ramos, John Kenneth Sarcena, Relan Taneo, Rey Taneo and Peter Torres.
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