World-class volleyball action takes centerstage as the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship presented by PLDT goes full blast today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
All eyes will be on the home team – PSL-F2 Logistics Manila – as it takes on South American champion Rexona-Sesc Rio in the 6:30 pm main offering of this prestigious tournament organized by the Philippine Superliga and Eventcourt with TV5, Petron, Asics, BMW and F2 Logistics as sponsors, Diamond Hotel as official residence and Turkish Airlines as official airlines.
Prior to that, Olympic gold medalist Zhu Ting and VakifBank Istanbul takes on Hisamitsu Springs Kobe at 10 am followed by the clash between Volero Zurich and Asian titlist Bangkok Glass at 1 pm in this battle that also has Mikasa, Gerflor and Jinling as technical sponsors.
Meanwhile, reigning champion Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul tests the mettle of European superpower Pomi Casalmaggiore at 4:30 pm before the opening ceremony tipped to be graced by International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) honorary president Wei Jizhong, Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) secretary general Shanrit Wongprasert, FIVB executive council member Stav Jacobi and Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. president Joey Romasanta and vice-president Peter Cayco.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez were also invited, affirming the government’s solid support in this weeklong spectacle that is also backed by the PSC, Rexona, Mall of Asia Arena, Foton and Price Waterhouse Cooper.
Skippered by Rachel Anne Daquis and powered by seven foreign reinforcements, hopes are high for PSL-F2 Logistics Manila, which is tipped to be showered with massive support from the home crowd after President Rodrigo Duterte declared the month of October as “Volleyball Month.”
Aside from Daquis, one of the most beautiful faces in local volleyball circuit, Mika Reyes, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Jen Reyes, Kim Fajardo, Frances Molina and Jaja Santiago will carry the cudgels while Americans Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay Stalzer, Puerto Rican Lynda Morales, Ukrainian Yevgeniya Nyukhalova, Russian Ekaterina Krivets, Thai Tichaya Boonlert and Japanese Yuri Fukuda will all suit up for the PSL-F2 Logistics Manila squad that will be handled by Serbian Moro Branislav.
“Yes, there is pressure. We’re playing against the best players in the world,” said Daquis, admitting that they are pressured to win for being the underdogs. “But we’re really excited to play against them. This will be a great experience for us and we will use it for future games.”
But winning their world debut will not be easy for the Filipinas.
After crashing out of the medal podium in last year’s edition in Zurich, the Brazilian side is serious in gaining redemption with legendary coach Bernardo Rezende vowing to come up with a serious battle against the world’s best club teams following a gold-medal finish with the Brazilian men’s team in the Rio Olympics.
Rexona-Sesc Rio, an 11-time Brazilian Superliga champion and South American title-holder for the past three years, made a major upgrade in its offense as it drafted Dutch winger Anne Bujis to power the already competitive core of Olympians Gabi Guimaraes, Juicely Silva and Fabi Oliveira, who was with Pomi Casalmaggiore when it won a silver medal in this world tourney in 2013.
“I have a libero who is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in Fabi,” said Rezende. “But this is a very tough competition. Our chances may not be that high, but we will try our best.”
Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, meanwhile, kicks off its bid to make history when it battles Pomi Casalmaggiore.
After winning the crown last year, the Turkish club will be coming with a star-studded roster of Olympians Tijana Boskovic of Serbia, Thaisa Menezes of Brazil, Tatiana Kosheleva of Russia and Jordan Larson of United States in a bid to become the first club to win back-to-back title.
Students can still avail the Buy 1 Take 1 promo at all SM Ticketnet outlets.
(Mall of Asia Arena)
10 am – VakifBank vs Hisamitsu Springs
1 pm – Volero Zurich vs Bangkok Glass
4:30 pm – Pomi Casalmaggiore vs Eczacibasi VitrA
6:30 pm – PSL-F2 Logistics vs Rexona-Sesc