CUBAN Olympian Regla Bell will reinforce the national women’s squad in the 2014 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship set in Nakhonpathom, Thailand on April 17-25.
The 43-year-old Bell, a member of the Cuban team that played in the country in 2000 during the World Grand Prix, will be one of two reinforcements for the Power Pinays, the other being Japanese setter Misao Tanyama who also played for Petron in the last Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix.
Speaking through an interpreter, Bell said she hopes to lead the Philippines to a top finish in the Asian showpiece while insisting that age is but a number.
“She wants to bring the team to a good position, first, second or third place maybe,” said the interpreter. “Her dedication and love for volleyball is the reason why she still plays as if she was in her younger years.”
Bell got praises from veteran mentor Sammy Acaylar for her attitude, both on and off the court, which he hopes would rub off on the rest of the team.
“Napakabait, napaka-down to earth,” said Acaylar, who only met Bell a couple of days ago. “At 43 grabe pumalo, walang kasing lakas pumalo.”
“Na inspire kami na kunin siya (Bell) para makita ng mga players natin ‘yung speed, accuracy at consistency niya sa laro at ma-motivate lahat ng players,” he added. “At siya rin gusto niya rin dito sa Pilipinas.”
Acaylar said it was Tats Suzara, International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) development commission officer, who made the arrangements for Bell to be in the national team.
Aside from Bell and Tanyama, also in the 14-woman team are former college stars Angge Tabaquero, Rachel Anne Daquis, Michelle Datuin, Royce Tubino, Rhea Dimcaulangan, Maika Ortiz, Jheck Dionela, Sue Roces, Iari Yongco and Jovelyn Gonzaga.
Acaylar said the team is waiting for Alyssa Valdez and Denden Lazaro of Ateneo as well as sisters Dindin and Jaja Santiago of National University to get their release from their respective schools.