Philippine volleyball

Star-studded squad: Angel Canino, Jia de Guzman, Sisi Rondina banner AVC roster

Philip Matel

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Star-studded squad: Angel Canino, Jia de Guzman, Sisi Rondina banner AVC roster

UAAP Season 86 Media Team, PVL Images

La Salle star trio Angel Canino, Julia Coronel, and Thea Gagate commit for the upcoming AVC Challenge Cup, teaming up with PVL stars like the returning Jia de Guzman, MVP Sisi Rondina, and Eya Laure

MANILA, Philippines – A week after an early exit in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament, the La Salle Lady Spikers triumvirate of Angel Canino, Julia Coronel, and Thea Gagate are set to join the national team in the upcoming Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup from May 22 to 29, outgoing head coach Jorge Souza de Brito told Rappler on Tuesday, May 14.

Meanwhile, returning Japan V. League import Jia de Guzman, UE rookie sensation Casiey Dongallo, and Cignal rising star Vanie Gandler were among the players who attended the team’s practice on Tuesday.

Rounding out the roster are Choco Mucho star and PVL MVP Sisi Rondina, Cherry Nunag, Chery Tiggo’s Eya Laure and Jen Nierva, Akari duo Fifi Sharma and Faith Nisperos, as well as PLDT’s Dell Palomata and Cignal’s Dawn Macandili-Catindig.

National University’s UAAP MVP candidate Bella Belen and teammate Alyssa Solomon are also expected to join the team following the UAAP Season 86 finals.

With NU leading 1-0 in the best-of-three affair against UST on Wednesday, May 15, the Lady Bulldogs duo could come to practice later this week following some days of rest.

“The lineup’s really good, as you can see. The guys are good, they’ve been performing good,” Souza de Brito said in an exclusive interview with Rappler. “There’s a good mix between UAAP and PVL players. All of them are in good shape. Of course, if I have to request, it would take time, which we don’t have.”

“Only thing I could say is the commitment of the players, they are showing up to practices. Hopefully, it can be enough to make a good show for the fans and also some results because they are good since they are representing the country,” he added.

The list is not complete yet as of posting time, as the national team needs one more middle blocker to complete the 14-player roster.

The Philippines will face Chinese Taipei, India, Iran, and Australia in Group A.

Biggest threats

“Well, I shall see…our group…as I try to put in the rankings, all of them are above us. But we played against them the last year,” said Souza de Brito.

“It’s hard to play against them. But we’ll be good because I think we have a chance not because they are playing here but because of the lineup.”

In the 2023 Challenge Cup, the country placed seventh, fielding a team comprised mostly of Akari Chargers players.

Following the AVC tilt, the national team will again convene for a June 7 friendly with South Korea. –

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