SWISS powerhouse Volero Zurich arrives tonight in Manila, signaling the start of the country’s hosting of the prestigious FIVB Women’s Club World Championship set from Oct. 18 to 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Led by Rio bronze medalist Foluke Akinradewo of the United States and international model Mariana Costa of Brazil, Volero Zurich will be landing in Manila via the tournament’s official airlines, Turkish Airlines, at 6:40 p.m. ahead of the six teams that will also compete in this world-class tourney organized by the Philippine Superliga and Eventcourt with TV5, Petron, Asics, BMW and F2 Logistics as official sponsors and Diamond Hotel as official residence.
Aside from Akinradewo, who was also chosen as ambassador of this spectacle that also has Philippine Sports Commission, Rexona, Mall of Asia Arena, Foton and Price Waterhouse Cooper as backers, also arriving are superstars like Natalya Mammadova, Ekaterina Orlova and Silvija Popovic.
Costa, however, will surely be a crowd pleaser with her rare brew of charm and power.
Costa, in fact, is so beautiful that Playboy Brazil featured her as its cover girl couple of years back. And this is not lost on many Filipino volleyball enthusiasts counting on the Brazilians to send what could be this generation’s version of the famous Leila Barros, the Brazil volleyball star who wowed Filipinos with her beauty more than a decade back.
The newly crowned Swiss Supercup champion will be handled by Zoran Terzic, who guided the Serbian national women’s team to a historic silver medal finish in the Summer Games.
After Volero Zurich, Rexona-Sesc Rio, Pomi Casalmaggiore, Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul and VakifBank Istanbul will be arriving Friday, giving them just enough time to warm up and get acclimatize to the rainy Manila weather before the tough grind ahead.
The Brazilian and Italian sides will be landing at 4:30 pm from Dubai while the Turkish clubs will be arriving at 6:30 pm from Istanbul.
Asian superpowers in Bangkok Glass and Hisamitsu Springs Kobe will be the last to check in.
They will arrive on Sunday at 11:55 a.m. from Bangkok and 12:55 p.m. from Osaka, respectively.
“Now the real work begins,” said PSL president Ramon “Tats” Suzara, a ranking member of the Asian Volleyball Confederation and the International Volleyball Federation.
“We are doing our best to make sure that our hosting of this massive endeavor will be world-class and up to the FIVB standards. With the ample support from the government and the private sponsors, we know we can pull this off.”
The host country will be represented by PSL-F2 Logistics Manila headed by team captain Rachel Anne Daquis with local stars Mika Reyes, Kim Fajardo, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Jen Reyes, Frances Molina and Jaja Santiago.
They will be powered by seven reinforcements in Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay Stalzer of the United States, Lynda Morales of Puerto Rico, Yevgeniya Nyukhalova of Ukraine, Ekaterina Krivets of Russia, Tichaya Boonlert of Thailand and Yuri Fukuda of Japan while Serbian coach Moro Branislav will serve as mentor.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Senate has thrown its support to the country’s hosting of the 2016 the FIVB Women’s Club Championship.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel vowed to cheer as he welcomed the squad, which will battle the best club teams in the world in this prestigious tourney organized by the Philippine Superliga and Eventcourt with TV5, Petron, Asics, BMW and F2 Logistics as official partners and Diamond Hotel as official residence.