Valdez, Santiago banner Philippine Senior Women’s National Team training pool

Twenty-two of the best volleyball players in the country have been selected to the Philippine Senior Women’s National Team training pool that was announced today by the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Incorporated at the Joy-Nostalg Center in Ortigas, Pasig City.

Leading the group are two-time Premier Volleyball League Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez and UAAP Season 80 MVP Jaja Santiago. The former Ateneo Lady Eagle has guided the Creamline Cool Smashers to two PVL titles last season. Meanwhile, Santiago has helped the Saitama Ageo Medics clinch a Final Eight spot in the Japanese V.League Women’s Division 1 2018-19 season by tallying 244 points in 21 games played.

Returnees from last year’s Asian Games and AVC Cup roster

Also getting the nod to be part of the NT training pool are players who donned the nation’s colors during last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia and AVC Cup for Women in Thailand. Dindin Santiago-Manabat who is currently playing for the Toray Arrows is included so are Jia Morado and Jema Galanza of Creamline.

Mika Reyes and Denden Lazaro of the Petron Blaze Spikers are also part of the pool while representing the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers are Aby Marano, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili. Completing the list of returnees from last year’s international competitions is Mylene Paat of the Cignal HD Spikers.

Ces Molina, originally a part of the 2018 National Team but declined due to injury, is also given a spot while veteran Aiza Maizo-Pontillas has been chosen as well.

Valdez, Lazaro, and Maizo-Pontillas would have been part of the Amihan national team that was supposed to compete in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.

The Filipino-Americans

MJ Phillips of the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors will once again be part of the NT training pool. This time, there will be no hindrances to compete if ever she will be chosen in the final roster because she is now a dual citizen. The same case goes for Kalei Mau of the United Volleyball Club who recently got her Philippine passport. Joining them in the training pool is former BYU standout and current UVC setter Alohi Robins-Hardy.

The young guns

Getting consideration for the Senior’s National Team training pool are some of the brightest stars in the UAAP. Season 80 Best Blocker Celine Domingo, setter Angel Cayuna, and team captain Jerrili Malabanan of the FEU Lady Tamaraws have been called up. UP Lady Maroons team captain Tots Carlos, Season 80 Best Receiver and Digger Kath Arado, and UST’s rookie sensation Eya Laure round up the training pool selection.

Cesael “Shaq” Delos Santos will remain as head coach of the Philippine Senior Women’s National Team. Assisting him are Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes and Brian Esquibel.

Tryouts for the Women’s Senior training pool were conducted last January 24 and 25 at the Arellano University School of Law Gymnasium.