IT’S going to be an emotional and nostalgic night as the stars of the present pay tribute to the stars of the past in the Clash of Heroes on Monday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Zenaida Ybanez-Chavez, Rosemarie Molit-Prochina, Joanne Tavera-Tomacruz, Arlene Apostol-Ladimo, Grace Antigua, Jan Buquid, Nory Laroza, and other legends of the game who won gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games were all invited to grace this one-day battle that serves as the final tryouts for members of the men’s and women’s national teams.
Regarded as one of the best players in the region back in the day, Ybanez-Chavez, Molit-Prochina and Tavera-Tomacruz were the stalwarts in the fabled team that last won the country’s gold medal in the Singapore biennial meet in 1993.
Apostol-Ladimo and Antigua are three-time SEA Games gold medalist, while Buquid and Laroza were key players in the Philippines’ domination in the international arena.
Also tipped to show up for this star-studded affair organized by the PSC-POC Media Group in cooperation with Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. with Philippine Sports Commission as major sponsor, TV5 as broadcast partner, and UCPB Gen as official insurance provider were Emil Lontoc and Sammy Acaylar, who served as deputies to Russian coach Stav Lyugaylo during the golden age of Philippine volleyball.
Thelma Barina-Rojas, a three-time SEA Games gold medalist and the face of the Philippines in international competition, was also invited, but has yet to confirm her attendance.
The Arellano University pep squad, the reigning champion in the NCAA cheerdance competition, will bang the drums as the stars of the present roll out the red carpet for their predecessors.
“It is only fitting that we recognize their past contributions and hard work in helping grow Philippine volleyball,” said PSC-POC Media Group president June Navarro of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“We want the stars of today to personally meet them and be inspired as they embark on their long, difficult journey to the Southeast Asian Games and the AVC Championships.”
Invited to do the ceremonial serve are PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, LVPI president Joey Romasanta and Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, who will head the organizing committee in the country’s hosting of the 30th SEA Games in 2019.
Former Ateneo sensation Alyssa Valdez and Kim Fajardo spearhead a young Pilipinas-Blue squad against the seasoned Pilipinas-Red squad of Rachel Anne Daquis and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas in the women’s match set at 7 pm.
In the men’s play, it’s going to be the Pilipinas-Blue team of reigning NCAA Most Valuable player Johnvic de Guzman against the Pilipinas-Red team of UAAP MVP Marck Espejo.
Men’s match will be livestreamed at Sports5.ph starting at 4 pm, while the women’s battle will be aired live at TV5 at 7 pm.
Tickets are still available at the media center of Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. For inquiries, look for Reuben Terrado at (02) 536 4722.