Two crack teams from New Zealand and Australia gear up for a showdown with the country’s top girls volley squads as they vie in the Shakey’s Girls’ Volleyball League Tournament of Champions starting Monday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The two guest teams arrived on separate flights last night, raring to showcase their talent and skills and upbeat of their respective chances in the five-day event sponsored by Shakey’s which features eight local squads which topped their respective regional eliminations last year.
They include NCR leg back-to-back champion Hope Christian School, De La Salle-Lipa, University of San Jose-Recoletos, Central Philippine University, Leyte National High School, Angeles University Foundation, Ateneo de Davao and Baguio City National High School.
“The two guest teams have the height advantage and experience in international play and are expected to provide a different of challenge for our local teams and at the same raise the level of play here,” said tournament director Johanz Buenvenida of the organizing Metro Sports.
The Kiwis will be bannered by Imogen Francis, Bethany Hayman, Annalise Vukets, Annilise Fitzi, Kelcy Ballantyne, Kahla Tyson, Georgia Morton, Caitlyn Taniela, Hannah Davenhill, Annie Eden, Alex Parker and Petra Manderson with Colleen McIlroy as head coach.
The Victoria team, on the other hand, is composed of Nikita Peril, Liana Konjarski, Emma Regan, Bonnie Lethlean, Samantha Mabilia, Vivien Maslov, Kate Hutchinson, April Austen, Tayla Mangles and Lauren White with George Santamaria as coach.
The NZ junior women’s squad is gearing up for the Asian Junior Women’s Championship set in Taiwan in July, making this 11th staging of the Shakey’s Girls Volley a key stop in their build up.
Format of the event, backed by Mikasa, Asics, Tune Hotel, Burlington, BioFresh, Food Health and Science Magazine and Metro Sports headed by Freddie Infante, is a single round robin elims among two groups with the top two from each side advancing to the semis. The winners will then dispute the crown.
The NZ and Aussie teams are expected to plunge back into training today at the NAS and are expected to appear on Eat Bulaga. The visiting squads are also scheduled to visit Cebu, Iloilo, Tacloban, Davao and Baguio to conduct a series of volley clinics.