ALYSSA Valdez will captain the ship when the Philippine women’s volleyball team sails into battle in the 32nd Phnom Penh Southeast Asian Games next month.

The face of Philippine volleyball received the honor as national team skipper yesterday when the Philippine National Volleyball Federation bared the 14-strong roster waging war in the biennial games slated May 5 to 17 in the Cambodian capital.

It was the biggest responsibility and honor bestowed on Ms. Valdez since she was tasked as Philippine flag bearer in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.

Ms. Valdez though is hoping to heal from the injury she sustained last year in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference while playing for the Cool Smashers in time for the Phnom Penh.

“Hoping to play soon, I’m really recovering well,” said Ms. Valdez right after Creamline beat Petro Gazz for the PVL All-Filipino Conference title Thursday.

Ms. Valdez will be joined in the Nationals by Creamline teammates Jia de Guzman, Tots Carlos, Michele Gumabao, Jema Galanza, Ced Domingo and Kyla Atienza and coach Sherwin Meneses, who will assists head mentor Jorge Souza de Brito of Brazil.

Also getting the call were PLDT’s Dell Palomata and Kath Arado, Choco Mucho’s Kat Tolentino and Cherry Nunag, Cignal’s Gel Cayuna and Glaudine Troncoso and Chery Tiggo’s Mylene Paat.

Meanwhile, Vince Mangulabnan will skipper the men’s squad comprising of AMC-Cotabato teammates Joshua Umandal, Lloyd Josafat, Kim Harold Dayandante, Vince Patrick Lorenzo and Jayvee Sumagaysay.

Also in the squad are National University-Archipelago Builders’s Rwenzmel Taguibolos and Leo Ordiales, Cignal’s, Manuel Sumanguid III, Iloilo’s Jade Alex Disquitado and University of Santo Tomas’s Jay Rack Dela Noche.

Filipino-Americans Steven Charles Rotter, Cyrus Justin De Guzman and Michael Raymund Vicente complete the team coached by another Brazilian, Sergio Valadares Veloso.

Sisi Rondina and Jovelyn Gonzaga, gold medalists in the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Futures in Subic last December, lead the women’s beach volleyball squad also composed of Bernadeth Pons and Floremel Rodriguez.

Alnakran Abdilla, Jaron Requinton, Jude Garcia and James Buytrago make up the men’s team of the beach volleyball squads coached by Joao Luciano Simao Barbosa.

Volleyball competitions in Cambodia begin two days ahead of the opening ceremony on May 3 at the Morodok Techo Elephant Hall while beach volleyball starts on May 11 at Otres Beach in Preah Sihanouk (Sihanoukville) Province with the finals of both on May 16. — Joey Villar