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Top spikers see action

Games Today: (Filoil Flying V Centre)
4:15 p.m. – Pilipinas-Blue vs Pilipinas-Red (men’s)
7 p.m. – Pilipinas-Blue vs Pilipinas-Red (women’s)

Drama and tension are expected to fly as the best volleyball players in the country fight for their slots in the 18-man national team in the Clash of Heroes today at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

Reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Johnvic de Guzman and his Pilipinas-Blue team tip things off as they battle Pilipinas-Red squad bannered by UAAP MVP Marck Espejo in the men’s match at 4:15 p.m.

Although Espejo remains doubtful, his squad remains solid, giving it a razor-thin advantage in this encounter that serves as the final leg of the tryouts for the national team headed for the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur this August.

Another doubtful participant is former Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez of Pilipinas-Blue team as it faces Pilipinas-Red squad led by Aiza Maizo-Pontillas of Petron in the 7 p.m. featured battle of this event organized by the PSC-POC Media Group in cooperation with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) and backed by the Philippine Sports Commission with UCPB Gen as official insurance provider and TV5 as official broadcast partner.

But prior to the women’s match, the stars of today will pay tribute to those who have brought honor to the country in the international arena like three-time SEA Games gold medalist Arlene Apostol-Ladimo, Grace Antigua, Zenaida Chavez, Rosemarie Prochina, and Joanne Tavera-Tomacruz.

PSC chairman William Ramirez, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, LVPI president Joey Romasanta, and Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri were also invited to do the ceremonial serve, while NCAA cheerdance champion Arellano University is tasked to bang the drums and make some noise.

Valdez, arguably the most popular player in the country, was barred from competing by her mother club, Creamline, to avoid any injury as it braces for the crucial stretch of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).

Also expected to sit out are PVL stalwarts like Myla Pablo and Elaine Kasilag of Pocari Sweat and Gretchel Soltones of BaliPure.

With that, their slots in the national team are in peril as the LVPI made it clear the event serves as the basis for selecting the composition of the national team.

“The first thing we want to see in these aspirants is their commitment,” sad national women’s team head coach Francis Vicente. “This event is the ultimate test not only to their skills and talent, but also to their character and commitment to serve the national team.”