MANILA – Ilonggas Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Aby Maraño will lead the Philippine team that will compete in the 2018 Asian Volleyball Confederation Women Seniors Cup starting Sept. 17 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Maraño will join Alyssa Valdez, Julia Morado, Denise Lazaro, Mika Reyes, Maika Ortiz, Cha Cruz-Behag, and Mylene Paat – her national teammates in the 2018 Asian Games.
Maizo-Pontillas, on the other hand, is one of the new additions in the team of head coach Ceseal delos Santos, along with Grethcel Soltones, Melissa Gohing, Jessica Galanza, Risa Sato, and Jasmine Nabor.
Six players from the national team in Asiad – Kim Fajardo, Jaja Santiago, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Kim Kianna Dy, Mary Joy Baron, and Dawn Macandili – begged off for various reasons.
Fajardo was out for at least four weeks due to a knee injury, the Santiago sisters are playing in a Japan tournament, while Dy, Baron and Macandili will join the De La Salle University Lady Spikers in a New York trip.
“May mga nawala pero may mga papalit naman galing sa pool,” said assistant coach Emilio “Kungfu” Reyes. “We will still try to be competitive in every match.”
The Philippines is bracketed in Pool C with team from Kazakhstan, Iran and Australia. It will need to finish in the group top two to reach the quarterfinal round.
Other countries in the tournament are host Thailand, Japan and South Korea in Pool A and China, Vietnam and Chinese Taipei in Pool B./PN