Alyssa Valdez is excited to return to the international arena following Creamline’s victory in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference late Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Valdez, a seasoned national team campaigner, said the Cool Smashers are ready to work hard in preparation for the AVC Asian Cup for Women that will be held at the Philsports Arena from 21 to 29 August.
Actually, the distinction of representing the country belongs to the national team, which is composed of the core of National University.
But with the Lady Bulldogs failing to grant a last-minute invitation to see action in the PVL, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation fired them, prompting Creamline to take over being the best performing local team.
Valdez, however, assured that they will give their best to make the country proud.
“I’m very excited because not everyone gets a chance to play for the national team. And now that we’re given the opportunity to compete, we want to maximize it and improve individually,” said Valdez, who has been competing for the national squad since the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore until the 31st edition of the Games in Hanoi.
“We’re limited since we just knew when the competition will start but we’re going to give our best and we hope that the Filipinos and volleyball supporters will support us.”
The Filipinas are bunched in a very tough group composed of former Olympic champion China, Asian powerhouse South Korea, regional rival Vietnam and dangerous Iran.
China, which fell to ninth place in Tokyo after winning the gold medal in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, is expected to parade a rock-solid rostered by powerhouse Zhu Ting while South Korea will bank on Kim Yeon-koung, who is still packing her spikes with power despite entering the twilight of her accomplished career.
Of course, the Vietnamese, who have been spoiling the Filipinos’ chances in the SEA Games, will have star middle Tran Thi Thanh Thuy while the Iranians will have a steady core led by hard-hitting Mahsa Saberi.
Aside from Valdez, also taking the leadership cudgel is Michele Gumabao, who skippered the Nationals in the AVC Asian Women’s Championship in China in 2015.
They will be coached by Sherwin Meneses with Brazilian Jorge Edson Souza de Brito as consultant.
“We’ll be ready. It will benefit the team really well and if an opportunity to win presents itself, we’ll definitely take it,” Meneses said.