For the first time ever, college rivals Alyssa Valdez and Mika Reyes will be donning the same jersey when they see action in the Clash of Heroes on Monday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Valdez, the former Ateneo superstar, will conspire with former La Salle sweetheart Reyes in bannering Pilipinas-Blue squad against a veteran-laden Pilipinas-Red team in this fund-raising project organized by the PSC-POC Media Group in cooperation with the Larong Volleyball Sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the benefit of the national volleyball team’s foreign training and exposure.
Also landing on Pilipinas-Blue team in this event backed by the Philippine Sports Commission with UCPB Gen as official insurance provider and TV5 as official broadcast partner, are Kim Fajardo, Kim Dy and Dawn Macandili, the heroes for newly crowned UAAP champion De La Salle University.
They will be joined by Jovelyn Gonzaga of Cignal, Kat Tolentino of Ateneo, Elaine Kasilag of Pocari Sweat, Bia General of Generika-Ayala, Frances Molina and Ria Meneses of Petron, Lourdes Clemente of Sta. Lucia, and CJ Rosario of Foton.
Assistant coach Brian Esquibel of Foton will call the shots with Ronald Dulay of Foton and Ian Fernandez of Petron as deputies.
Aside from the highly anticipated partnership between Valdez and Reyes, who figured in a handful of dramatic UAAP battles, it would also be a reunion of sort for Valdez and Fajardo, the childhood buddies from Batangas who blossomed into two of the country’s best volleyball players.
National team head coach Francis Vicente stressed that the team assignment wasn’t intentional.
“It’s the outcome of long nights of deliberation among members of the national coaching staff,” said Vicente, who mentored Valdez and Fajardo during their high school days at UST.
“Alyssa and Kim are both candidates for team captain. I want to see how they will lead the team composed of players with different backgrounds. I would carefully take note how they will provide the spark and chemistry on the floor.”
Rachel Anne Daquis of Cignal, arguably the country’s face in the international arena, will be at the helm for Pilipinas-Red squad together with fellow veterans Aiza Maizo-Pontillas of Petron and Aby Maraño of F2 Logistics.
Also in the squad are Denden Lazaro of Cocolife, Kat Arado of Generika-Ayala, Myla Pablo of Pocari Sweat, Gretchel Soltones of BaliPure, Jaja Santiago of Foton, Gen Casugod of Generika-Ayala, Maika Ortiz of Foton, Maddie Madayag of Ateneo, Rhea Dimaculangan of Petron and Roselle Baliton of UE.
Injured Foton star Dindin Manabat was also on the roster of Pilipinas-Red.
Nene Chavez of Generika-Ayala, the skipper of the team that won the country’s last gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in 1993, will map out the plays to be assisted by Kungfu Reyes of UST and Benson Bocboc of La Salle.
“Rachel, Aiza, Aby and Jaja are overflowing with international experience. I want to see how they will prove their worth and translate that experience into a victory against younger players like Alyssa, Kim and Mika.”