Foton Pilipinas are looking to come up with at least a semifinal finish when they compete in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship from September 3 to 11 at the Alonte Sports Center in Biñan, Laguna.
Team manager Alvin Lu revealed that hopes are high for the Tornadoes. Moreover, Lu vowed that his team will go all out to surpass the seventh place finish registered by Petron in the previous edition of this prestigious continental tourney.
Foton Pilipinas have already kicked off their preparations, and are tipped to kick it into higher gear once imports Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher arrive next month.
So far, showing up consistently in their twice-a-week training are reinforcements Aby Marano of F2 Logistics, Jen Reyes of Petron, and Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga of RC Cola-Army.
Foton stars Santiago, Angeli Araneta, Patty Orendain, Maika Ortiz, Ivy Perez, and Rhea Dimaculangan are also training regularly, proving that they are serious about giving other teams a very good fight.
Rounding up the pool are Bia General, Kara Acevedo, EJ Laure, Cherry Rondina and Carol Cerveza. Villet Ponce-de Leon will be the head coach, with former national team skipper Ian Fernandez as chief assistant.
The team will be formally launched on July 22 at Crimson Hotel in Alabang.
“We want to have a strong finish, but at the same time we’re also tempering our expectations,” Lu shared.
“We have a strong and fighting team. Making it to the semis is our ultimate goal.”
But things will get testy in the next round, as perennial contenders Taiwan Power of Chinese Taipei, Jakarta Electric PLN of Indonesia, April 25 of North Korea, Zhetysu Almaty of Kazakhstan, Sarmayeh Bank of Iran, and a team from Malaysia are expected to give Foton Pilipinas a serious fight.
Reigning champions Bangkok Glass of Thailand are expected to dominate, with seasoned international campaigners Pleumjit Thinkaow spearheading the squad, powered by rising stars Sutadta Chuewulim, Pornpun Guedpard and Jarasporn Bundasak. Same goes for last year’s bridesmaids Hisamitsu Springs of Japan, who will parade prolific spiker Miyu Nagaoka, Yuki Ishii, and Kotoki Zayasu, with powerful Montenegrin winger Tatjana Bokan at the helm.
“This is a very competitive field,” Lu said. “While advancing to the semifinals will be a great achievement, we will still keep on working to make it to the finals and win the crown.”
“After all, we have the homecourt advantage. We will be playing with the crowd on our side.”
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