Three teams will represent the Philippines at the 2021 AVC Asian Club Volleyball Championship on October in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) announced on Tuesday (7 September) that it will deploy two women's squads, Rebisco and Choco Mucho, to compete in the women's competition on 1 to 7 October. Another team from Rebisco will vie for the men's championship from 8 to 15 October.
Seasoned national team captain Aby Maraño will shoulder the mantle of leadership for the Filipinas in the Rebisco unit which will operate under the tutelage of Brazilian coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito.
This team offers a solid blend of veterans and youth as it boasts off reliable stalwarts in Rhea Dimaculangan, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Jema Galanza and Eya Laure, alongside a crop of newcomers in Faith Nisperos, Mhicaela Belen, Imee Hernandez, Ivy Lacsina, Kamille Cal, Jennifer Nierva and Bernadette Pepito.
The core of Choco Mucho, on the other hand, will consist of three prolific scorers in Kalei Mau, MJ Phillips and Kat Tolentino.
Under the supervision of head coach Odjie Mamon and team captain Iris Tolenada, the high-scoring trio will spearhead a veteran-laden lineup that includes the likes of Majoy Baron, Mylene Paat, Kianna Dy, Ria Meneses, Dell Palomata, Dawn Macandili, Tin Tiamzon and Deanna Wong.
Meanwhile, the 14-man roster of the Rebisco men's team will once again work under the guidance of head coach Dante Alinsunurin, the man behind the country's silver-medal finish in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
To no one's surprise, Alinsunurin will have several holdovers from the Manila Games team as John Vic de Guzman, Jessie Lopez, Rex Intal, Mark Alfafara, Kim Malabunga, Ish Polvorosa, Francis Saura, Josh Retamar, Jao Umandal and Ricky Marcos will return to don the Philippine colors.
Rebisco, however, will not have the scoring punch of Bryan Bagunas and Marck Espejo, both of whom will miss the international meet due to their respective Japan V. League commitments. In a bid to fill up the void, Alinsunurin called up JP Bugaoan, Ysay Marasigan, Nico Almendras and Manuel Sumanguid.
The Filipinas are set to leave for Thailand on 27 September, while the men's team will depart the country on 4 October.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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