MANILA, Philippines – Alyssa Valdez and Jaja Santiago continue to banner the Philippine women's volleyball training pool as the buildup for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games gets going.
The 22-strong national team pool, captained by Aby Maraño, also includes mainstays Majoy Baron, Jema Galanza, Denden Lazaro, Dawn Macandili, Ces Molina, Jia Morado, Mylene Paat, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Dindin Santiago, and Mika Reyes.
The twin towers Santiago sisters will return from their Japan V.League stint to reinforce the national team.
Kalei Mau, the 6-foot-2 Fil-Am who recently acquired dual citizenship, is also a step closer to debuting for the Philippine team along with 7 other new faces.
Also bidding to make the final cut that will compete in the regional meet that the country will host late November are Kath Arado, Tots Carlos, Celine Domingo, Eya Laure, Jerrili Malabanan, Gel Cayuna, MJ Phillips, and Alohi Robins-Hardy.
The national team will still be mentored by Shaq delos Santos, who has been in charge since the team's 2018 Asian Games campaign.
Five-time UAAP MVP and three-time champion Marck Espejo will also return from Japan to lead the men’s national team as his contract with Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler ends in May 2019.
The men’s training pool is composed of recent UAAP champions from Ateneo and National University, which includes five-time best setter Ish Polvorosa, Season 80 Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas, Rex Intal and veteran Peter Torres.
The men’s national team will be mentored by Dante Alinsunurin of the NU Bulldogs.
The Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas also formed a youth team, although no competition has been lined up for the Under-23 pool.
Leading the squad are UAAP stars Isa Molde of University of the Philippines and Far Eastern University rookie Lycha Ebon.
UAAP juniors stars Angel Canino, Alleiah Malaluan, and Faith Nisperos also made the cut.
University of Santo Tomas head coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes will be guiding the development of the young squad. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.