Valdez, Marano lead SEAG-bound volleyball squad


MANILA, Philippines Former collegiate rivals Alyssa Valdez, Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Aby Marano will spearhead the Philippine team eyeing to medal in the volleyball competition of the 28th Southeast Asian Games unfolding next month in Singapore.


Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas president Joey Romasanta made the official announcement Friday after consulting with the national squad’s coaching staff headed by Roger Gorayeb and Ateneo mentor Tai Bundit.


The other members of the SEAG-bound team are Jia Morado, Jaja Santiago, Bea de Leon, Gretchel Soltones, Denden Lazaro, Rhea Dimaculangan, Maika Ortiz, Rachel Ann Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga.


“This is the best we had,” said Romasanta.


Romasanta said Maizo-Pontillas was the last player cut after the coaching staff chose Manabat-Santiago and Gonzaga instead to fill up the last two utility spots.


Maizo-Pontillas, however, will still join the Nationals as a reserve and an assistant coach as she took over the spot of Parley Tupaz, who was asked by Bundit to handle the Ateneo Lady Eagles’ training while he’s away.


It will be the first time in the last decade that the country will field in a team in the biennial meet since copping a bronze in the 2005 SEAG edition in Bacolod City.


Gorayeb, for his part, said he’s trying to make do with the little training time his team has with just about two weeks left before the SEAG unfolds.


“I’m hoping that we can practice in full because some players are not showing up,” said Gorayeb in Filipino.


Meanwhile, Nes Pamilar was officially named coach of the men’s SEAG team that will be spearheaded by Asian Under-23 veterans Rex Intal, Peter Torres, Marck Espejo and Ish Polvoroza.


The other new additions of the team were PLDT’s Kheeno Franco and Johnvic de Guzman and Cignal’s Sandy Montero.


“We’ll resume practice as soon as the team arrives from Myanmar,” said Pamilar.