After almost two years of inactivity, the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball team will get its first taste of action in the 2021 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
The last time the women’s team suited up was in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. There, they finished last in the four-team field.
Leaving no stones unturned, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation fielded two teams in the annual club tournament hosted by the Asian Volleyball Confederation.
The Odjie Mamon-coached Choco Mucho will be bannered by F2 Logistics stars Kalei Mau, Kianna Dy, Dawn Macandili, Majoy Baron, and Tin Tiamzon. They also have other Premier Volleyball League stalwarts in MJ Phillips, Mylene Paat, Ria Meneses, Dell Palomata, Deanna Wong, Gel Cayuna, and Iris Tolenada.
While the team had little time to practice in the past month, Mamon believes that the team is very strong individually – something that they can build up on in the tournament proper.
“All of my players are national players,” said Mamon, the program’s head coach. “Actually Rebisco, the other Philippine team is from the same company like ours.
“We are stronger individually but as a team, we had less time to prepare. It has been a long time that the team was laid off as we finished the professional league last August and we had no chance to play,” he added.
National team consultant Jorge Souza de Brito will be coaching the youth-laden Rebisco squad. And he expects his wards to savor the experience of playing on international soil.
After all, the majority of his players in Choco Mucho have not seen action for two years.
“I started with this team in July and I expect them to enjoy their plays here after a long time without playing. They are the young players of the national team of the Philippines,” said the veteran Brazilian tactician.
Souza de Brito also likes the composition of his squad – a mix of veterans in Aby Marano, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Jema Galanza, and Rhea Dimaculangan; and young guns in Eya Laure, Faith Nisperos, Mhicaela Belen, Imee Hernandez, Ivy Lacsina, Kamille Cal, Jennifer Nierva, and Bernadette Pepito.
“My team is representing their country as all of them are national players,” said Souza de Brito. “There are a lot of good players. The experienced ones are like the mentor to my younger players and I like this balance in my team.”
Choco Mucho will take on Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima on October 1 at 1:30 PM. They take on Kazakhstan’s Zhetyssu on the following day.
Meanwhile, Rebisco will face Kazakhstan’s Altay on October 1 at 7:00 PM. They then battle Thailand’s Supreme Chonbu at 4:30 PM on October 2 and Iran’s Saipa on October 3.