Bangkok Glass and Hisamitsu Springs Rio checked into the Diamond Hotel on Sunday, formally completing what is billed as the strongest cast ever to compete in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, which fires off on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Thais and the Japanese landed at high noon from Bangkok and Osaka, respectively, ready to wage a war against other elite club teams.
Powered by Asian superstars Pleumjit Thinkaow, Thi Ngoc Hoa Nguyen, Wilavan Apinyapong, Pornpun Guedpard and American Ashley Frazier, the reigning Asian champions will come out in full force in its world debut, eager to make an impact following the death of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
On the other hand, Hisamitsu Springs Rio will be marching with the nucleus of Olympians Miyu Nagaoka and Yuki Ishii as well as Risa Shinnabe and Risa Ishibashi.
The Thais and the Japanese will be stacked against a very competitive field headed by Rio Olympics Most Valuable Player Zhu Ting, Lonneke Sloetjes, Kim Hill and Naz Aydemir Aykol of VakifBank Istanbul; Tijana Boskovic, Thaisa Menezes and Titiana Kosheleva of Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul; and Foluke Akinradewo, Olesia Rykhliuk and the Mariana Costa of Volero Zurich, who quickly swept locals fans off their feet with her charm, beauty and power.
Not to be outdone, South American powerhouse Rexona-Sesc Rio will parade Anne Bujis, Carol, Gabi and Juicely while European champion Pomi Casalmaggiore will be powered by Rio Olympics bronze medalist Carli Lloyd, Jovana Stevanovic and Valentina Tirrozi.
The home team will carry the colors of PSL- Manila powered by skipper Rachel Anne Daquis, Mika Reyes, Kim Fajardo, Frances Molina, Jen Reyes and Jaja Santiago.
They will be backed by foreign reinforcements in Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay Stalzer of the US, Lynda Morales of Puerto Rico, Tichaya Boonlert of Thailand, Yuri Fukuda of Japan, Yevgeniya Nyukhalova of Ukraine and Ekaterina Krivets of Russia.