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Valdez, Maraño headline Philippine U-23 women’s volleyball pool

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Reigning two-time UAAP women’s volleyball Most Valuable Player, Alyssa Valdez, leads the 14-woman Philippine U-23 women’s national volleyball pool that will be competing in the first-ever Asian U-23 Women’s Volleyball Championship in May.

Joining Valdez is, former UAAP MVP Aby Maraño, the sister tandem of Jaja and Dindin Santiago, setters Kim Fajardo and Jia Morado, Bea De Leon, reigning NCAA MVP Gretchel Soltones, EJ Laure, UAAP Season 77 Best Blocker Ria Meneses, UAAP Season 77 Best Receiver Tin Agno, Christine Rosario, Alyssa Eroa, and Myla Pablo.

Roger Gorayeb, who heads the National University Lady Bulldogs squad, will call the shots for the National Team.

The Philippines is in Pool A of the tournament along with Kazakhstan and Iran. The top two teams in each of the four pools will advance to the next round.

Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc.’s Joey Romasanta says that exposure to international competition, after a decade-long layoff, will help the country measure how far it has come when it comes to the sport.

“Considering our absence from international competition, this is a good first step. We can’t be perfect in what we do, but this is a good first step,” Romasanta said.

Coach Tai Bundit of the Ateneo Lady Eagles will serve as a consultant for the squad as Romasanta said that his system “is something that’s already proven.”

Romasanta added that the U23 players may also make the core of the South East Asian Games team should the POC decide to field a team to the biennial meet.

Quick takeaways:
PowerTiebreaker Times Valdez, Maraño headline Philippine U-23 women's volleyball pool

Alyssa Valdez, Gretchel Soltones, Dindin Santiago, you name it. This is a team with the country’s best spikers. It is a bit unfortunate that Ara Galang and Kathy Bersola are recovering from respective injuries, as they could have added more depth. Nevertheless, this crew is solid and ready to take action.

SizeTiebreaker Times Valdez, Maraño headline Philippine U-23 women's volleyball pool

Santiago sisters plus Bea De Leon and Ria Meneses. It makes us wonder if Jaja Santiago will play a different position, as she will definitely be a boost when placed to the wing position. Size will be vital in this competition, and it is a good to see some towers on the floor.

Premium playmaking

Tiebreaker Times Valdez, Maraño headline Philippine U-23 women's volleyball pool

ADMU’s Jia Morado

Jia Morado and Kim Fajardo are the two Best Setters in the UAAP during Season 77. Watch out for a Morado to Santiago play, and the return of a Fajardo to Maraño play.

Outstanding receivingTiebreaker Times Valdez, Maraño headline Philippine U-23 women's volleyball pool
If you don’t know Tin Agno click here

EnergyTiebreaker Times Valdez, Maraño headline Philippine U-23 women's volleyball pool    Aby Maraño. Beast mode, don’t care.

More than the talent we see on the floor, Maraño’s energy and leadership is unparalleled. That will be needed inside the locker room of a young team. Maraño will most probably bring the same thing Marc Pingris brings to our Men’s National Basketball Team.

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