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Former rivals join hands for country’s honor

By: Jerome Lagunzad

Rivalry will have to take a backseat this time as rivals in the just-concluded Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference finals will have to work hand in hand for the sake of the country’s pride and honor next month.

Middle blocker Mika Reyes, outside hitter Ces Molina, setter Rhea Dimaculangan, and Finals MVP Aiza Maizo-Pontillas of newly-minted PSL champion Petron will join forces with four F2 Logistics counterparts under the country’s tri-colors in the 2017 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship set from August 9 to 17 in Biñan, Laguna and the 29th SEA Games in Kuala, Lumpur Malaysia slated Aug. 19 to 30.

“Of course I’m very excited,” beamed the 6-foot Reyes, who will have a reunion of sorts with former La Salle teammates — setter Ara Galang, middle blocker Aby Maraño, opposite hitter Kim Dy, and libero Dawn Macandili.

Joining them are fellow PSL stars like Cocolife libero Denden Lazaro, middle hitters Jaja Santiago, and Maika Ortiz of Foton, Cignal’s opposite hitter Jovelyn Gonzaga and Generika-Ayala’s middle blocker Genevieve Casugod.

Creamline’s superstar Alyssa Valdez, the lone representative from the Premier Volleyball League, complete the 14-strong national team cast, with concurrent University of the East and Generika-Ayala mentor Francis Vicente set to call the shots.

The Nationals will depart for Japan on Tuesday as they will prime up for the bigger battles ahead behind a 17-day training camp which includes training sessions and exhibition matches against several local club teams and collegiate squads.

“Our main goal there is to allow the team improve its floor defense and blocking. It will also help the players in terms of their mental preparations next month,” said Ramon “Tats” Suzara yesterday during the team’s official presentation at the Arellano U gym in Taft Avenue, Manila.

The 23-year-old Reyes, the team’s designated team captain, is confident she won’t have a tough time keeping her touted teammates on the same page.

“Hindi naman na kami mga bata talaga kaya hindi ko na sila kailangan pang pagsabihan. Ang challenge lang sa akin ay kung paano namin magagawa lahat na mag-meet – skills-wise, atitude-wise and character-wise,” she stressed.