THE Philippines’ Foton squad landed on a light group after the drawing of lots yesterday for the Asian Volleyball Confederation Asian Women’s Club Championship at the Foton showroom in Quezon City.
The Toplander—the reigning Philippine Superliga Grand Prix champion—fell in Group A together with lightweights Hong Kong and Vietnam in this prestigious regional club tourney set Sept. 3 to 11.
Southeast Asian powerhouse Thailand will be in Group B, together with North Korea and Iran, while Japan will be joining Kazakhstan and Indonesia in Group C.
Group D, meanwhile, will be composed of China, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and Turkmekistan.
“We like where we landed,” said Foton team manager Alvin Lu after the brief ceremony graced by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. president Joey Romasanta, AVC marketing and development committee chairman Ramon “Tats” Suzara and AVC technical delegate Jaksuwan Tocharoen of Thailand.
“With this, we can now start our preparation for the tough grind ahead. We will complete our lineup next week and schedule our international training, probably in Thailand, very soon.”
Aside from the core of the squad that defeated Petron in a heart-stopping fashion for the PSL Grand Prix crown last December, Foton will be employing the services of some PSL stars.
Lu confirmed that Aby Marano of F2 Logistics, Jen Reyes and Aiza Pontillas of Petron, Rachel Anne Daquis, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Tina Salak and Honey Royse Tubino of RC Cola-Army will be invited to join the team that will be powered by American imports Ariel Usher and Lindsay Stalzer.
“We want to have an early preparation and we’re looking to assemble a very strong and fighting team,” Lu said. “Hopefully, we can land in the Top 4.”
Romasanta said he is satisfied with the outcome of the drawing of lots and hopes that a successful participation will pave the way for the resurgence of Philippine volleyball in the international level.
“The LVPI is very glad to entrust the hosting and organization of this prestigious event to the PSL,” he said, adding that the PSL has the technical know-how to organize the tourney for being the only club league in the country. “We’re looking forward to a very successful participation and organisation to finally put the Philippines back in the international volleyball map.”
The Toplander will open its bid against Hong Kong, which was easily defeated by the PSL All-Star team in a friendly match last month in Bangkok, before facing Vietnam.
Should they emerge victorious in both games, they will advance to the next round against the top two survivors from the other groups.