Chemistry will never be a major issue as foreign reinforcements Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher will be arriving at least three weeks before Foton Pilipinas competes in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship from September 3 to 11 at the Alonte Sports Center in Binan City.
Newly-appointed team manager Jose Mari Angulo said Stalzer will be flying from Denver, Colorado on Aug. 12 while Usher will be arriving from her hometown in Portland, Oregon on August 15, giving them at least three weeks to train with the team for this prestigious and competitive continental battle.
Angulo, who served as Tornadoes’ assistant coach before being promoted to team manager last week, said both Stalzer and Usher vowed to be in great shape after participating in a handful of indoor and outdoor volleyball camps during summer in the United States.
In fact, they are expected to hit the ground running and will join the team in its daily training starting Aug. 16, or as soon as the ongoing Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference comes to an end on August 14.
“We are in close coordination and both of them are very excited to play for the country in a tournament as prestigious as the AVC Asian club,” Angulo, Foton’s sports and development director said.
“Both of them are in great shape and there will no honeymoon period. We will buckle down to work as soon as possible and get themselves familiar with the locals.”
Stalzer and Usher will be joining a potent local crew led by Asian tourney veterans Aby Marano of F2 Logistics, Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga of RC Cola-Army and Jen Reyes of Petron as well as mainstays Jaja Santiago, Angeli Araneta, Patty Orendain, Bia General, Ivy Perez, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, Kara Acevedo, EJ Laure, Cherry Ann Rondina and Carol Cerveza.
Angulo reiterated that their target remains fixed at capturing a semifinal finish.
“That’s the goal,” he said.
“With two premier imports, four seasoned locals and a bunch of young and aggressive players, I think that goal is very doable.”