ITS CONFIDENCE boosted by a mar-athon five-set win on opening day, Meralco hopes to nail back-to-back victories when it clashes with Air Force today in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Bannered by experienced players who powered La Salle to UAAP titles in their prime, Meralco will be gunning for the early lead in the eight-team tournament whose tight single-round format leaves little room for error.
Meralco, leaning on the strong play of former La Salle stars Ivy Remulla and Maureen Penetrante-Ouano, opened the tournament on a bright note by outlasting Philippine National Police, 25-17, 17-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-9.
Ouano scored 19 points with Remulla and Maica Morada contributing 15 each.
Army, the Open Conference champion two years ago, makes its debut at 2 p.m. against a Far Eastern U squad that dropped its first game of the tournament, before Navy and Cagayan clash in the second of a heavy three-game bill.
Made up of players who have already made their mark in the V-League, Army sets out as the heavy favorite against the Lady Tamaraws, who are using the tournament to toughen up for the coming UAAP volleyball season.
Former league MVPs Mary Jean Balse, Nene Bautista and long-time national team ace Michelle Carolino will be at the forefront of Army’s bid to match their feat two years ago.
Also part of the squad is Rachel Daquis, the former FEU standout who was named Finals MVP when Army captured the crown in 2011.
The Lady Tamaraws are looking to bounce back from a straight-set loss to Smart-Maynilad last Sunday. Mary Relmy Palma proved to be the lone bright spot for the Lady Tamaraws, finishing with 13 points, eight coming off kills and four from blocks.
Cagayan will be pinning its hopes on former University of Santo Tomas stars Angeli Tabaquero and Aiza Maizo and Perpetual Help’s Sandra Delos Santos.
Michelle Laborte and Janet Serafica will be tasked to lift the Navy squad, which has former Nationals in their lineup like Cecille Cruzada.