The women’s volleyball roster is a mix of veteran talent and a few rising superstars

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo by Tristan Tamayo

The Philippine women’s volleyball roster for the upcoming SEA Games was announced last Oct. 9, Wednesday. Part of this year’s team are veterans Alyssa Valdez, skipper Abby Mariano, setter Rhea Dimaculangan, middle blocker Mika Reyes, and University of Sto. Tomas rookie Eya Laure.

Valdez, who will be competing in her third SEA Games tournament, said that she’s thrilled to be around veterans this year. The Creamline star and former Ateneo Lady Eagle hopes that third time’s the charm and that the national team will win gold this year.

“I’m really blessed to be around veteran players na matagal ko nang nakasama since 2015, and mas nadagdagan pa tayo ng mga firepower,” says Valdez. Sana makuha namin ‘yung chemistry and sana maganda talaga yung performance namin,” she added.

This year, Valdez believes that the team is filled with lethal scorers who will bolster the national squad’s campaign. Aside from Valdez and Laure, Fil-Hawaiian recruit Kalei Mau, Ces Molina, Mylene Paat, and Jovelyn Gonaga will spearhead the team’s offense. 

Team captain Mariano, Majoy Baron, Maddie Madayag, and Reyes will be guarding the net while Dawn Macandili and Kath Arado will run the team’s floor defense.

Sana matindi talaga ang paghahanda ng team para siyempre, hindi mawala ‘yung hope din ng bawat Filipino sa gusto nating ma-achieve sa darating na SEA Games,” says Valdez, who’s also recovering from an ankle injury.

On Playing with Rookie Standout Eya Laure

Coming off an impressive UAAP season, rookie Eya Laure will see action in the SEA Games for the first time. The 20-year-old may be the youngest player on the squad but she’s already earned high praises from the veterans including Valdez. Laure is an efficient scorer who tallied a total of 117 points off 100 spikes along with 11 blocks and six aces in her first collegiate season.

Parang hindi naman kasi rookie yung bata, parang ang tagal niya nang naglalaro,” says Valdez. “Iba ang nadadalang presence at energy ni Eya pagdating sa laro or sa training. Bata pa lang ‘to, ganito na ‘yung energy na binibigay niya, ganito na ‘yung puso na binibigay niya. So kaming mga veterans, nai-inspire din kami sa kanya,” says Valdez.

The 2019 SEA Games will take place on Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 this year. The women’s volleyball tournament begins on Nov. 28 at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

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