Imagining version 2.0 of the women’s national volleyball team

Exactly a month ago, Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) officially unveiled the 20-woman strong pool of the Philippine national women’s volleyball team who will compete in the prestigious Southeast Asian Games 2019 on November.

Diverse and dynamic, the pool is composed of national team mainstays, grizzled veterans, and talented youngsters, who could become the building blocks of a long-term volleyball program.

Leading the team anew is Aby Maraño, while national team pillars Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago, Dawn Macandili, Jia Morado, Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Mylene Paat were also re-enlisted. Among the new names included in the pool are Fil-Hawaiian spiker Kalei Mau, Fil-Am setter Alohi Robins-Hardy, and UAAP superstars Tots Carlos and Eya Laure to name a few.

It was arguably a strong pool.  One that could give Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand a run for their money come SEA Games – with proper training and long preparation, of course.

There are still names, though, that volleyball aficionados hope to see banner the country in the future. These players are also worthy of donning the tricolors in the international arena.

Given how much talent Philippine volleyball has, FOX Sports Philippines listed the local players who are also potential international campaigners for the country. With no further ado, this is the National Team version 2.0.

Editor’s Note: These players were not included in the current pool either because they didn’t tryout, didn’t make the cut, or injured.

OPEN SPIKERS

Ara Galang – In a parallel universe where she didn’t tear her ACL, Galang could easily crack a spot in the national team. In fact, before her knee injury, the former La Salle star was part of the now-disbanded Amihan Pilipinas.

Looking at the way she has been playing lately in the Philippine Superliga (PSL), the F2 Logistics outside hitter is slowly but surely regaining her lethal form. The Pampanga native can deliver both on offensive and defensive ends – and now, it looks like she can also help in the setting department.

Myla Pablo – The last time Pablo suited up for the national team was in 2015. Since then, the former NU stalwart has grown into a more complete wing spiker whilst maintaining her stature as one of the most powerful hitters in the country today.

The future Motolite star could’ve returned to the international scene last year if not for the unfortunate back injury she sustained during the semifinals of the Premiere Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference.

Sisi Rondina – Of course, Rondina. With her athleticism, great vertical jump and sheer power, the high-leaping spiker from UST is one of the few spikers who can wreak havoc at any given time.

But aside from her incredible skill set, it is her infectious positive, never-say-die attitude inside the court that makes the four-time UAAP Beach Volleyball MVP a great addition to the national team, whether indoor or outdoor volleyball.

In the ongoing UAAP Season 81, Rondina is currently the best scorer with 17.91 average points per game and the second most efficient hitter with 33.08 percent success rate in spikes.

Gretchel Soltones – Like Galang, Soltones can both light up the scoring boards and defend the taraflex floor. And like Pablo, the San Sebastian College standout saw scarce national team action in the past four years.

The PLDT spiker has had a short stint with the national team last year, when the Valdez-led squad competed in the AVC Cup for Women in Thailand.

Bernadeth Pons – Pons may be not as tall as Mau or as fast as Valdez but she is still a potent hitter in her own, smart way. The do-it-all spiker’s impressive years playing for FEU are proof enough to this.

Together with Rondina, the outside spiker from Petron could be the country’s best shot for international beach volleyball tournaments.

Milena Alessandrini – Right from the moment she arrived in the Philippine soil, Alessandrini has already caught the attention of volleyball fans. Standing at 6-foot-1 spiker, the Fil-Italian talent could easily hit over the blockers and provide additional defense at the net.

Unfortunately, injuries have been hampering the UST hitter from clinching a seat in the national team.

 

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