Ateneo starts UAAP title defense, faces NU | Inquirer Sports

Ateneo starts UAAP title defense, faces NU

UP unveils vaunted rookie class vs UE
By: - Reporter / @jwpayoINQ
/ 10:54 PM January 30, 2016
Jaja Santiago (left) will lead National U. Alyssa Valdez is playing her final year. JILSON TIU

Jaja Santiago (left) will lead National U. Alyssa Valdez is playing her final year. JILSON TIU

Ateneo hopes to repeat last year’s perfect season, but looking at the beefed up rosters in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament that unfolds today gives the Lady Eagles an idea of just how tough the road will be.

“It’s really hard to say,” said Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez, who’s playing her final year with the defending champions. “All teams are strong. There are many good recruits and everyone had a long preparation.”

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The Lady Eagles, who are vying for a third straight crown, start their quest versus National University at 4 p.m. at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

University of the Philippines, boasting a solid rookie class, battles a similarly retooled University of the East side at 2 p.m.

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Valdez returns with the same talented crew that accomplished a 16-0 season sweep, led by last season’s Finals Most Valuable Player Amy Ahomiro, Jho Maraguinot, Bea de Leon and setter Jia Morado.

But the Lady Bulldogs expect a better campaign with coach Roger Gorayeb, Ateneo’s former mentor, now joining them for one full season.

NU’s 6-foot-4 standout Jaja Santiago along with Myla Pablo, Jorelle Singh, Ivy Perez, Bia General and the returning Aiko Urdas banner the Lady Bulldogs.

The Lady Maroons, meanwhile, target a Final Four stint with highly touted rookies Isa Molde, Diana Carlos and Justine Dorog teaming up with Kathy Bersola, Nicole Tiamzon and Pia Gaiser.

Also vying for a better run, the Lady Warriors look to bank on Shaya Adorador, Roselle Baliton, last year’s top rookie Kat Arado and promising newcomers led by Celine Domingo.

For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.

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TAGS: Alyssa Valdez, amy ahomiro, Ateneo Lady Eagles, Bea de Leon, Jho Maraguinot, Jia Morado, Justine Dorog, Kathy Bersola, Myla Pablo, NU Lady Bulldogs, UAAP, UE Lady Warriors, UP Lady Maroons, Volleyball
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