Akari is set to make its first appearance in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference that will kick off Saturday.
The Power Chargers, which will parade three-time Olympian Prisilla Rivera as their guest player, will take on the Cignal HD Spikers at Sta. Rosa City Sports Complex.
Team members Dani Ravena and Michelle Cobb said they were awed by the Dominican Republic native's skills and volleyball IQ.
They were also surprised by here down-to-earth attitude toward her teammates.
"Ang first impression ko of her parang medyo intimidating at first but she's a total opposite, a sweetheart and game na game makipagkulitan sa amin," said Ravena during their interview on ABS-CBN's Off the Record.
"I've learned a lot not just actually skill wise, but with her attitude at 'yung pakikisama really what made me more parang the wow factor na this girl how she tries to mingle with us. Parang she's not a 3-time Olympian. She's down to earth. That made me more amazed it's easy to get along with her," said Michelle Cobb, for her part.
Rivera has competed at the international level for almost 22 years.
Aside from her Olympic appearances, she has won a total of 13 MVP awards, 17 club championships, and 12 gold medals with the Dominican Republic.
"She's also a coach, she's on level 3 na. We're really blessed to have her inside the court, kasi parang nadagdagan kami kami ng coach rin," said Ravena.
Akari player Gyra Barroga also welcomed playing under head coach Jorge Souza de Brito, who also calls the shots for the national team.
Souza de Brito is a former Brazil men’s volleyball team player, who won a gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
He arrived in the country last year after the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) tapped him to coach the women’s national team through the FIVB’s development project platform.
"It's very refreshing to have him as head coach, he's very intense but he applies his training sa amin na parang dad figure pero he wants us to improve and he let's us know we can do it," said Barroga.
"He gives us confidence always. It's just refreshing it's another program a new system unlike what we have here in the Philippines, so we learn a lot."