By Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines - High-scoring Fil-Am Joana Houplin and Fil-Canadian Jesse Shugg banner the team that will carry the fight for the Philippines in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship on May 1-10 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Houplin of US W-League club Seattle Sounders, the top scorer 2013 AFF Women’s Championship with seven goals, and Shugg, a Miami U alumna who came through with a brace in the Phl’s 6-0 rout of Iran in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers two years ago, link up with fellow Fil-foreigners and standouts for this campaign.
Pleasanton’s Raylene Larot and University of North Florida’s Hanna Parado are also suiting up for the 25-member squad formed by coach Buda Bautista.
They join forces with Green Archers United’s Natasha Alquiros and Haya Ibarra, Sikat’s Aisa Mondero, UP’s Mary Rose Obra, Marie Navea-Huff, and Nicole Adlawan, DLSU’s Inna Palacios, Irish Navaja, and Kyla Inquig, FEU’s Sharmine Siaotong, Jean Kadil, Mea Bernal, Alesa Doliho and Analou Amita, UST’s Marice Magdolot, Marianne Narciso, Jennizel Cabalan, and Pearl Aguilar, AdMU’s Nona Amoncio, DLSZ’s Sara Castañeda, and Rachelle Labajo.
The Pinay booters will have their hands full as they go up against host Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia in Group B of the tourney that serves as the region’s showpiece in the absence of women’s football in the Southeast Asian Games.