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02:31 AM August 15th, 2012

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By: Jasmine W. Payo, August 15th, 2012 02:31 AM

TWO FAVORITES clash right on opening day when the Shakey’s V-League Open conference rolls off this Sunday at Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.

Sandugo Sandals—the new squad that assembled a powerhouse cast of locals and Thai aces—quickly gets to test varsity favorite Ateneo in the last of a triple bill at 6 p.m.

“If you base it on talent and experience, Sandugo is the team to beat,” Far Eastern University assistant coach Shaq delos Santos said in the PSA Forum yesterday at Shakey’s Malate.

Sandugo tapped former MVPs Nerissa Bautista and Suzanne Roces, Joy Benito, Angela Benting, Thai standouts Jeng Bualee and Utaiwan Kaensing and coach Roger Gorayeb.

Defending champion Philippine Army said it expects a tougher run even with league star Rachel Anne Daquis and sisters Michelle and Mayette Carolino leading its campaign.

“We’re still looking for players to complete our lineup,” said Army coach Digoy de Guzman, whose wards open their back-to-back bid versus Philippine Navy at 2 p.m.

“The defending champion is Philippine Army but if you look at the lineups, it looks like Sandugo is a formidable team,” said Ricky Palou, president of organizer Sports Vision.

Mentored by Sherwin Bariuan, provincial team Cagayan hopes to bank on the core of NCAA volleyball champion Perpetual Help when it debuts against FEU at 4 p.m.

“Having a provincial team is a welcome development,” said Sports Vision chair Moying Martelino. “We’re looking forward to a commercial league, but we’re not abandoning our school competition.”

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