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Text, call to Vicente helped Valdez secure slot in national team

Alyssa Valdez

MANILA, Philippines – Alyssa Valdez needed just a text and a call to national women's volleyball team coach Francis Vicente for her to make it to the 18-player pool.

She did both.

Valdez, one of the best, if not the best, volleyball players in the country at present, made the cut as a last-minute addition and is a favorite to eventually make the final 12-player roster for the 29th Southeast Asian Games set August 19-30 in Kulala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"She (Valdez) texted me and asked me if she can call me. I told her to text me back because of I was driving. And we talked," said Vicente in Friday’s press briefing at the Arellano University Pasay City campus.

Valdez, the Philippine flag-bearer in the 2015 Singapore SEAG who plays for Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League, actually met with Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. vice president Peter Cayco the day before, paving the way for her late inclusion in the squad.

Valdez will join ex-La Salle star and Petron's Mika Reyes, La Salle stars Kim Fajardo and Dawn Macandili, National U and Foton's Jaja Santiago and F2's Abigail Marano and Cignal's Rachel Ann Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga among others.

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Reyes was eventually named team captain that virtually assures her a final spot in the SEAG-bound squad.

Petron's Frances Molina replaced Foton's Dindin Santiago-Manabat with the latter injuring her knee.

Other members of the team were Genevieve Casugod, Maika Ortiz, Lourdes Clemente, Aiza Maizo-Pontilla, Foton's Ria Meneses, Petron's Rhea Dimaculangan, University of the East's Roselle Baliton and Kathleen Faith Arado.

Meanwhile, men's mentor Sammy Acaylar likewise made a late insertion as he included Hershel Ramos, Mark Alfafara and Bonjomar Castel of the PVL's Cignal HD Spikers, in the Johnvic de Guzman-skippered 18-man pool.

Relan Taneo, Geuel Asia, Bryan Bagunas, Alnakran Abdilla, Reyson Fuentes, Jeff Malabanan, Jack Kalingking, Louwie Chavez, Edward Camposano, Gregorio Dolor, John Kenneth Sarcena, John Carascal and Peter John Quiel.

Curiously absent were Marck Espejo, the multiple UAAP MVP winner who helped Ateneo to a three-peat feat early this month.

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