Volleyball’s top locals wary of Japanese and Taiwanese strikers


THREE of the seven teams set to take center stage in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) invitational tournaments taking place Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan are looking past the eliminations, preparing for a test of skill and talent with two visiting teams spurring the title chase.

Japan’s Kobe Shinwa Women’s University and Chinese Taipei’s Taipei King Whales will join the four qualifiers after the single-round playoffs in another round robin that is expected to be unforgiving and relentless given the makeup of each roster and type of construction that each team continued during the Break.

“Personally, I’m excited because it’s been a long time since I’ve played indoors after switching to beach volleyball,” said Jovelyn Gonzaga, back in the Army Black Mamba band which also features a mix of aces from Honey Royse Tubino, Christine Agno, Sarah Gonzales, Mary Anne Esguerra, Joanne Bunag, Nene Bautista and MJ Balse-Pabayo to Michelle Morente, Jem Gutierrez, Angela Nunag, Jeanette Villareal, Ivy Perez and Audrey Paran.

“But the two foreign teams should motivate us because their level of play is much better than us,” she added. “Although I haven’t faced the Taiwanese, they are very solid and together with the Japanese should serve as an inspiration to the young local players.”

Mika Reyes, the PLDT’s top hitter/blocker, said visiting college teams shouldn’t be underestimated “because you can see in their moves that they’re more polished.”

“At some point it may be more difficult for us pros to play against them. In VNL (Volleyball Nations League) we were able to compete with them and their level of play is truly inspiring,” added Reyes, who also boasts talented teammates, led by Kathleen Arado, Toni Rose Basas, Fiola Ceballos, Jessey de Leon, Rhea Dimaculangan, Heather Guino-o, Jovie Prado, Dell Palomata, Mary Anne Mendez, Julianne Samonte, Wendy Semana, Joy Soyud and Nieza Viray.

“The Taipei King Whales are very good, a strong team and one of the best in Taiwan,” said PVL President Ricky Palou. “We shouldn’t take the Kobe Shinwa Women’s U varsity team for granted either, as they are one of the best varsity teams in Japan.”

But fans can’t wait to see their local idols strut their stuff with the Cignal HD Spikers, under the banner of Rachel Anne Daquis, Grazielle Bombita, Marivic Meneses, Frances Molina and Jerrili Malabanan, and the Gonzaga-led Black Mamba Troopers kick off hostilities at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The Choco Mucho-Chery Tiggo clash at 5:30 p.m. is also set to spark the explosive opening day twinbill with the Flying Titans all set to ride high in a team built around Kat Tolentino, Bea de Leon, Ponggay Gaston, Deanna Wong, Dennise Revilla, Caitlin Viray, Isa Molde, Aduke Ogunsanya, Desiree Cheng and Regine Arocha.

But the Crossovers are ready to redeem themselves from a forgettable finish in the open conference despite Dindin Manabat being a questionable starter after suffering a minor sprain in his left ankle following a bad fall in a peak drill for a tune-up match.

The likes of power hitter Mylene Paat, EJ Laure, Joy Dacoron, Justine Dorog, Shaya Adorador, Jasmine Nabor, Arriane Layug, Maika Ortiz, Rachel Austero, Elain Kasilag and Alina Bicar, however, are more than ready to take on the youngsters but talented Choco Mucho team.

Creamline, meanwhile, makes its debut on Tuesday against Petro Gazz in a duel of teams that have battled for the Open Conference crown with the star-studded Cool Smashers looking to reassert their mastery over the Angels and the latter scrambling to come back. to the old.


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