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AVC Clubs struggles part of PWNVT’s birth pains, says Suzara


Rebisco and Choco Mucho, two club teams composing members of the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team pool, have struggled in the 21st Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship.

And on Wednesday, the two squads face off, with the loser ending their campaign in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand dead last.

But for Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Tats Suzara, just fielding teams in the continental meet is progress in itself. After all, this is the first tournament of the national team since the 31st Southeast Asian Games back in 2019.

“It’s the national team program’s first test. Maybe it’s not yet the acid test, but the players’ overall performance in the tournament will show that we are starting on the right foot,” said Suzara, who took over the federation early 2021.

This is not the PNVF’s first international sortie; beach volleyball teams also competed in Thailand in June. Despite yielding similar results to their indoor counterparts, their performance gauged the needs for the national team program to progress.

“These are birth pains and baby steps,” Suzara said. “Because of the lockdowns that are going on for some 19 months now, these ladies haven’t had a single, serious international exposure.

“But we’ll get there.

“What’s significant is that our coaches picked players who have the potential, skills, and most importantly, the attitude and dedication to wearing our country’s colors,” Suzara added.

2021-AVC-Club-Choco-Mucho AVC Clubs struggles part of PWNVT's birth pains, says Suzara News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Photo: Eddy Phongphakthana

Power hitters Kalei Mau and Mylene Paat have been working hard for Choco Mucho. Still, a set has escaped the team of coach Odjie Mamon.

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Mau and Paat were obviously the team’s main offensive options, more particularly in Choco Mucho’s 13-25, 22-25, 21-25 quarterfinals loss to Thailand’s Supreme Chonburi. There, they combined for 30 points.

Blocking was also Choco Mucho’s main arsenal with middles Ria Meneses and Dell Palomata taking turns in defending the net.

Dawn Macandili, touted as one of Asia’s best liberos, has what it takes on defense. Meanwhile, setter Deanna Wong has made an impact in her international debut.

Then there’s Iris Tolenada, Choco Mucho’s skipper. She has been rallying the team whether she’s on the floor orchestrating plays or on the bench.

Rising stars Ivy Lacsina, Faith Nisperos, Mhicaela Belen, Imee Hernandez; setter Kamille Cal; and liberos Jennifer Nierva and Bernadette Pepito are having their moments in their senior team debut for Rebisco, which is coming off an 11-25, 19-25, 18-25 quarterfinals defeat at the hands of Thai powerhouse Nakhon Ratchasima QminC VC.

Despite missing the opener due to health and safety protocols, skipper Aby Maraño and Eya Laure – who were part of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games team; as well as Dindin Santiago-Manabat provided leadership for Brazilian coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito’s side.

Rebisco’s emergency additions Kianna Dy and Majoy Baron also gave significant contributions along the way.

The participation Choco Mucho and Rebisco in the continental club championships are supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Rebisco, Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Asics.

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