PVF unveils 36 PH national team hopefuls
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2014 - 6:26pm

MANILA, Philippines -- After going through its aspirants with a fine tooth comb, the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) has chosen 18 men and 18 women who are poised to become the country’s standard-bearers in the 28th Singapore Southeast Asian Games next year. 

Representing the best in local volleyball, the PVF introduced the members of the national pool supported by PLDT HOME Fibr at a glittering press conference recently held at the grand ballroom of the New World Hotel in Makati City.

“These players were chosen following a rigid screening process by our PVF national team management committee,” said PVF president Karl Chan. “We pray and anticipate that they will make our country proud in next year’s international competitions, especially the Singapore SEA Games.”

“We would like to congratulate all of the players for making it to the national pool after passing rigorous tryouts. We are privileged and proud to be a partner of the PVF in this major step in bringing Philippine volleyball back on the world map,” said PLDT HOME marketing head and vice president Gary Dujali at the press briefing.

PLDT HOME Fibr is the country’s most powerful fiber-optic broadband in the Philippines. “We hope that our support can help accelerate the development of our national volleyball teams in making them competitive in international tournaments,” added Dujali.

Bannering the women’s national pool is popular Ateneo ace Alyssa Valdez, who powered the Lady Eagles to their first UAAP women’s volleyball crown last year on the way to copping league’s season and finals Most Valuable Player honors.

Also making the grade were towering siblings Dindin and Jaja Santiago, the UAAP Season 76 Rookies of the Year; the multi-titled La Salle trio of Mika Reyes, Ara Galang and Kim Fajardo; and poster girl and Army standout Rachel Anne Daquis.

Versatile Cebuano southpaw Jovelyn Gongaza of Army; former UST stars and Air Force mainstays Mikka Ortiz and Rhealine Dimaculangan; and Army veterans Mary Jean Balse, Nerissa Bautista, Tinna Salak, and Cagayan’s Aiza Mazo-Pontillas were likewise named to the national pool.

Adamson-PLDT’s Lizlee Ann Pantone, Ateneo’s Denise Lazaro, NU’s Jennylyn Reyes, and former NCAA MVP Honey Rose Tubino of Cignal complete the women’s pool that will be handled by La Salle mentor Ramil de Jesus.

Peter Denmar Torres of UAAP men’s volleyball champion National University and former La Salle-Dasma mainstay Abdilla “Ran Ran” Alnakran of Air Force headline the men’s pool, which also includes Ateneo’s Marck Jesus Espejo, the UAAP Season 76 men’s volleyball MVP.

The other players in the men’s pool are UST’s Mark Gil Alfafara, the UAAP’s top scorer and best server last season; College of St. Benilde’s John Vic de Guzman; Paolo Pitrus de Ocampo (FEU-PAF); Franco Kheeno (PLDT); Reyson Fuentes (NU); Rodolfo Labrador Jr. (FEU-PAF); Jessie Lopez (FEU-PAF); Jeffrey Malabanan (RTU-PAF); Vincent Mangulabnan (NU); Howard Mojica (Cignal-EAC); Sandy Domenic Montero (Cignal-Perpetual); Raffy Mosuela (PAF-SSC); Henry James Pecana (PLDT-UST); Jayson Ramos (PLDT-UST); and John Paul Torres (PLDT-UST).

UST mentor Arthur “Odjie” Mamon will be the head coach overseeing the selection of the national men’s squad that will be striving to make its presence felt in the Singapore SEA Games after the Philippines had skipped the previous four SEAG volleyball competitions.

“Other countries in Southeast Asia were delighted to learn that we are planning to send our national teams to the SEA Games,” said PVF secretary general, who attended the recent Southeast Asian Volleyball Association held in Bangkok Thailand.

Chan said that aside from the SEA Games, the core of the national women’s squad will also see action in the Asian Under-23 Women’s Volleyball Championships that the country will be hosting in May 2015.

“As part of their respective SEA Games build-up and preparations, the national men’s and women’s pools will also have tune-up competitions and training camps abroad,” the PVF president said.

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