The Philippine Super Liga (PSL) Invitational is just around the corner.
Unlike previous years where the tournament was placed as a season opener to test how each team will fare for the whole season, the developmental conference was relegated as a mid-season meet.
It is the only time where PSL invites international teams to spice up the competition and see how will local clubs perform against the best teams in the world.
Thailand-select team Est Cola won the title alongside RC Cola-Army in 2016. The following year, Japanese collegiate team Kobe Shinwa Women’s University also bagged the trophy together with Cignal HD.
As of writing, the organizers are yet to announce if there will be an international guest team for this year’s edition.
But if ever they decide on bringing one, here are teams we want to in flesh in local soil:
1. Hisamitsu Springs (Japan)
Fans may be familiar with Hisamitsu Springs as the team played in the 2016 Women’s Club World Championship which the country hosted.
Hisamitsu Springs is a long-time Japanese club which plays in the country’s top-level V.Premier League. They are also the most accoladed squad with a total of six championships and six bridesmaid finishes.
The team is also home to several national team players which include skipper Nana Iwasaka, Yuki Ishii and Miya Nagaoka among others.
With Jaja Santiago taking her talents to Japan later this year, going up against a Japanese powerhouse this early will help her familiarize with the Japanese kind of play.
2. Nakhon Ratchasima (Thailand)
Local fans may only know about Bangkok Glass who also played in the 2016 Women’s Club World Championship but Nakhon Ratchasima is another powerhouse Thai-team that we should look into.
The team is bannered by national team members Onuma Sittirak and Chatchu-on Morski. One of its player Wanitchaya Luangtonglang has previous PSL experience when she suited up with the TMS-Philippine Army in 2013.
In fact, Luangtonglang in the 2013 PSL Grand Prix Most Valuable Player. It would be a much sweeter reunion with her returning and Army also making their comeback in the league.
Nakhon Ratchasima is the winningest team in the Thailand league with three championships.
3. Jakarta Elektrik PLN (Indonesia)
Our Indonesian neighbors also have a very respectable local volleyball program.
Jakarta Elektrik PLN participated in the 2016 AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship which the Philippines also hosted.
The team houses Aprilia Manganang who many fans loved when she played in local soil.
They are the winningest squad in the Indonesian Proliga with a total of six titles. Having them in the tournament will also be a great test for our national volleyball team in preparation for the 2019 SEA Games which the country will also host.
4. Attack Line (Taiwan)
Attack Line is a Taiwanese club team which plays in the Chinese-Taipei Volleyball League.
Local star Alyssa Valdez suited up with the squad last year. If in case, Valdez gets greenlight to play with the national squad in the PSL, it would be great to see how she will perform against her former team.
It will also be a good preparation for our local side in time for the Asian Games this August.
(Photo courtesy of FIVB)