Fireworks are expected to light up when the women’s volleyball tournament of the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games kicks off Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Six nations in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar and Malaysia will go for the gold — last won by the Thais — the event’s 12-time champion.
Volleyverse listed the players to look out for to see if they can make a big impact in this prestigious biennial meet:
6. Low Mei Cing, 20 – Malaysia
Low is tipped to tow the host nation back to the podium following a sour performance in the 2015 Singapore ed.
In fact, she led Malaysia salvaged the 7th spot over Iran in a thrilling five-set match in the recent Asian Women’s U-23 Championship by tallying a team-high of 30 points.
5. Moe Moe San, 37 – Myanmar
Moe will provide much-needed firepower and experience as Myanmar also shoots a podium-finish after more than two decades of absence.
4. Dawn Macandili, 21 – Philippines
Standing 5-foot tall, Macandili will serve as the defensive backbone of the Philippines as it seeks to reclaim its lost pride and glory in the biennial meet.
She made heads turn in the 19th Asian Senior Women’s Championship where she named as the league’s 2nd Best Libero next to Japanese Mako Kobata.
Macandili came in as a last-minute replacement of Denden Lazaro, one of the best liberos in the 28th SEA Games, who has yet to fully recover from a pulled hamstring.
3. Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, 19 – Vietnam
6-foot-3 Thuy emerged as one of the top scorers in the 2015 SEA Games when she steered the Vietnamese to their eighth-straight silver medal-finish since 2001.
This year, she is expected to compete in her best form as Vietnam hopes to win its first gold medal in the tourney.
2. April Manganang, 25 – Indonesia
Volleyball fans would never forget of Manganang.
She became the most controversial player in the last SEA Games when her gender was questioned in a bid to stop her from competing in Indonesia’s opening match against the Philippines.
Despite the controversy, Manganang was able to rule the scoreboard as Indonesia took home the bronze for the fifth-straight time.
1. Chatchu-on Moksri, 17 – Thailand
It will be Moskri’s second SEA Games stint after seeing action in the Singapore edition two years ago.
This year, she will be competing with confidence following an impressive performance in the 19th Asian Seniors where she bagged the 2nd Best Outside Spiker plum next to Korean volleyball superstar Kim Yeon-koung.