TWO-TIME defending champion Ateneo gets a tough early test as it battles University of Santo Tomas today to usher in topnotch action in the 10th season of the Shakey’s V-League at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Two of the league’s most popular and strongest squads, the Lady Eagles and Tigresses take the floor at 2 p.m. in a Group A clash shortly after the opening ceremony with Frank Elizalde, the Philippine representative to the International Olympic Committee, as guest of honor.
Powered by a former Most Valuable Player in Nene Bautista, Arellano makes its V-League debut as it collides with National U in the second game at 4 p.m.
Aeriel Patnongon and Rachel Anne Daquis will beef up the intact Ateneo crew chasing a record third straight crown.
The Lady Eagles will still have the core of the team that won the title over the Tigresses last year in the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Fille Cainglet, Gretchen Ho, Dzi Gervacio and setter Jem Ferrer.
Owners of a record six league championships, the Tigresses recalled former players Aiza Maizo and Rhea Dimaculangan to fuel their bid. UST still has a strong core that includes Maru Banaticla, Judy Ann Caballejo, Maika Ortiz and rising stars Pamela Lastimosa and Ma. Loren Lantin.
San Sebastian, Letran and La Salle-Dasmariñas are also in Group A, while Perpetual, National U, Adamson, Arellano and USC make up Group B.